Sustainability in the kitchen makes for a fantastic excuse to indulge in the crunchy potato pancakes in this Kitchen Story.
A classic in many cuisines, potato pancakes recipes often feature flour and eggs as binders. This version, instead, from the family repertoire of our guest cook Carmen, has no flour. Stale bread is one of the main components instead.
Carmen’s “frittelle di patate”.
You may know how obsessed with home-baked good bread I am. This sometimes results in bread leftovers, which I recycle as breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs are pretty handy in many preparations, but Carmen’s recipe is a much more satisfying way to give bread a second chance.
The pancakes she made were so delicious we ate them all straight after the shoot, before I could even ponder the idea of taking a picture. After all and despite Instagram, I still value eating over taking pictures of what I’m about to eat.
The cover photo of this post refers to the batch of potato pancakes I couldn’t help baking later on, while editing the video. For the record, that’s because I take recipe-testing seriously, and not because I was drooling on my keyboard.
When Carmen visits her family in Southern Italy, frittelle di patate are her favourite welcome food. I hear only half of the potato pancakes her mother makes actually reach the table. After tasting them, I’m not the slightest surprised.
Try for yourself and let me know if you manage to keep from tasting some as you cook. I dare you to “eat them responsibly”!
Ingredients for about 16 potato pancakes.
500 g potatoes
2 whole eggs
2 slices (stale) bread crumb – approximately 100 g
50 g Parmigiano Reggiano
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
You won’t need any particular kitchen tool apart from a very common grater with large holes. I recommend grating the potatoes manually, as most food processors will make your potatoes either too fine or too big for this preparation.
The potatoes need to be fine enough to cook during the few minutes long shallow frying in the pan.
If you like, you can enrich the flavour by replacing water with milk to soak the bread. I personally find that, if you’re using good sourdough bread, possibly made with mixed grains quality flours, there will be absolutely no need for it.
- Wash and peel the potatoes.
- Remove the crust from the bread and soak the crumb in water (or milk, if you prefer) until it softens.
- Dry the surface of the potatoes to remove excess moist, then grate them in a mixing bowl, using a flat grater with large holes.
- Drain excess moist from the potatoes, if necessary, then squeeze the bread to remove as much water/milk as you can from it. Add it to the grated potatoes.
- Add grated Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper, finely minced parsley (and garlic, if you like it).
- Mix the ingredients in the mixing bowl until they are evenly distributed.
- Warm some extra virgin olive oil in a large flat frying pan over medium high heat.
- Using a large spoon, scoop out some pancake mix and pat it to compact it before you gently lay it in the frying pan. Try to bake as many pancakes at a time, as they fit in the pan without sticking together.
- After about three minutes, carefully flip the pancakes and let them cook on other side for three more minutes, then lay them on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
Have these potato pancakes a starter or, if they make it through the first course, as a second course, with some side salad. Enjoy!
Carmen Miletta Cossa was born in the Calabria region, the “toe” of Italy. She studied Italian literature and marketing in Rome, but eventually turned to the world of food and sustainable farming.
She has worked at several food businesses, where she realised how big an impact the food industry can have on food waste and other sustainability issues.
Carmen founded her own business, Eat Responsible, to educate people about consumer choices and environmental issues in an enjoyable and tasty way. She relocated to South Korea a few days after contributing this recipe, and we wish her the best of luck in her new adventure!