Recipe #13: Kanapki z Plackami
What happens when National Potato Day and National Sandwich Month decide to elope in Poland? Polish potato pancake sandwiches!
So… bad Jokes aside… hear us out!
Because August really is National Sandwich Month and this upcoming Sunday really is National Potato Day. And, well, when the two of them join forces, something magical happens.
First, we have the humble potato pancake (placek ziemniaczany) – a crispy, fried round of finely grated potatoes. Frankly, it pretty much holds its own, requiring nothing more than a dollop of sour cream, a small pool of applesauce, or a sprinkling of sugar. But why stop at that? There are very few foods, other than bread, that can so easily adapt to both sweet and savory flavors.
Which is how we get to sandwiches – a staple in lunch bags all across America. A staple, perhaps, for it’s chameleon-like ability to transform itself from a PB&J to a philly cheesesteak to a báhn mi – while still being called a sandwich. So naturally, we convinced ourselves that the next best thing since sliced bread would be potato pancakes taking on the role of sliced bread.
Take this information and do with it what you will, but trust us, it’s going to be good. Grill up some kielbasa and top it with some caramelized onions, or make it into a grilled cheese. In case you’re still having a hard time wrapping your brain around this information, we have here for you a recipe for your basic placki ziemniaczane that, with a filling of (very Polish) herring, becomes a masterful sandwich.
2 1/2 lbs starchy potatoes, like Russets
2 Tbsp flour
salt to taste
oil for frying
1. Wash, peel, and grate potatoes finely. Using a cheese cloth, squeeze out any excess liquid and reserve for later.
2. Leave liquid to stand until all the starch from the potatoes has settled to the bottom. Pour off the water and add the potato starch liquid back into the grated potatoes.
3. Peel onion and grate finely. Squeezing out any excess liquid and add to potatoes.
4. Add eggs, flour, and a pinch of salt to potato-onion mixture. Stir until fully incorporated.
5. Heat about 1/4″ of oil in a heavy frying pan – cast iron works best. Add the batter to hot oil in heaping tablespoons, pressing down gently with a spatula to flatten. Fry until crisp and brown on both sides. 6. Drain in on absorbent paper towels and place the pancakes in a preheated 200 degree oven to keep them warm until ready to serve – or make into sandwiches.
6. Drain in on absorbent paper towels and place the pancakes in a preheated 200 degree oven to keep them warm until ready to serve – or make into sandwiches.
7. If you choose to opt out of the sandwich part, these can be enjoyed with sour cream, apple sauce, some stew, or a mushroom sauce. Now for the masterful sandwich part.
3 marinated herring fillets, diced
3 hard-boiled eggs, diced
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
2. Place dollops between two gorgeous potato pancakes and voilá!