Truffled (!) potato pancakes with fried eggs for breakfast

May 2, 2010 § 1 Comment

“Wow,” I thought to myself as I set breakfast down on the table.  “Did I just take up residence in Martha Stewart Living, or something?”  Then I glanced over at the piles of paper on the edge of the table and the laundry that hadn’t yet been folded, and I knew I hadn’t.  But, that didn’t change the fact that I had just made truffled potato pancakes and over easy eggs for breakfast, on a weekday, no less!

It all started because I somehow bought some truffle butter.  This is what happens when it’s too long until the next farm share delivery, and I’m allowed to go by myself, unsupervised, to the grocery store to restock the kitchen after being gone for a while.  I get awestruck by all the fancy specialty ingredients and every now and then I discover that I’ve bought something that I didn’t intend to buy, but that in the moment seemed eminently useful.  I love the earthy, musky flavor of truffles, but in general they are way too fancy-pants for my style of cooking.  I rarely go in for fancy and frilly (unless I’m at a nice restaurant and someone else is paying, hehe!).  I’ve only bought a truffle product one other time before and that was because I read an article by the amazing and hilarious food writer Jeffrey Steingarten about a truffle sandwich that was the new rage in Haute Cuisine in Paris.  That right there would normally signal “out of your league” to me, except that he described it in such darn engaging, drool-inducing language, and then he shared the recipe!  I descended into some crazy, hazy truffle-desiring stupor that compelled me to empty the contents of my savings account and buy a truffle to shave on country bread, thickly slathered with butter, which was then wrapped and refrigerated overnight and grilled the next day.  It tasted pretty much like buttery bread with truffle.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but I didn’t ascend into some special circle of fungal heaven or anything.

But, now I have some more truffle – already in butter form, which turns out to be a much better deal financially speaking – on my hands again, and it’s finding its way into everything.  Scrambled eggs, yum.  Toast, also yum.  On steak (grass-fed of course 🙂 ), double plus yum.  And into creamy mashed potatoes, wow!   It was the leftovers of these truffled mashed potatoes that I turned into potato pancakes for breakfast.  Even if you don’t have truffles in your tubers, I highly recommend this as a way of using up leftover mashed potatoes.

I like latkes, and hash brown types of potato pancakes okay.  But, I love the creamy, buttery flavor and texture you get from frying up potatoes that have been mashed (preferably to a fluffy texture, not roughly mashed).  Plus, this way you get out of grating potatoes and get to use up leftovers instead, while seeming just as domestically adept.  I just add 1 egg per cup of mashed potato, beat them together with a fork and fry them up like pancakes in a Tablespoon or two of melted butter.  If you don’t have truffle butter to mash your potatoes with, they’re very yummy plain, but they’d also be awesome with chopped fresh chives or scallions in them.

I’m a protein kind of girl at breakfast time.  So, I fried up an additional egg for each of us, leaving the yolks runny so they could melt out onto the pancakes ever so deliciously.  And look how beautiful the orange yolks of the farm fresh eggs are.  They’re so sunny!

Here’s a sort of recipe for if you wanted to start from scratch:

Truffled (or not) potato pancakes with fried eggs (serves 2)

  • 4 medium potatoes, cleaned and chopped (I usually leave the skin on unless it’s very thick or old seeming)
  • several big splashes of cream, about ¼ I’d guess
  • a couple Tablespoons of truffle butter (or regular butter)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs (2 are just for frying)
  1. Put the potatoes in a pot and fill with just enough water to cover the potatoes.  Cover and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced by a fork.  Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot and add the cream and butter.  Mash and whip them up vigorously with a masher or with a handheld electric mixer.  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.
  2. To make potato pancakes, take about 2 cups of the mashed potatoes, and stir in 2 eggs until incorporated.  Melt another Tbs. or so of (regular) butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Scoop the potato mixture and plop it into the pan in pancake size circles.  Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, until browned on the underside.  Very carefully use a spatula to flip the cakes and cook for another couple of minutes on the second side.  Repeat until all of the potato-egg mixture is used up.
  4. Then add another pat of butter, crack in the 2 leftover eggs.  Let them fry for a couple of minutes, then flip them – trying not to break the yolk, if you want a runny yolk – and let them cook one minute more.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve one egg and 2 or so pancakes together on a plate.  Feel really impressed with yourself that you cooked up such a nice breakfast.

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