Rachel Rudy’s recipe for Northern Italian Potato Cake | food

IIn the photo, two men – one about 60 and the other 30 – are a young woman and a six-year-old child all seated in carved chairs at a table. Behind them is a window with thin, green curtains framing a clear view of a mountain. Three carved spoons hang on the wall as well as a painting that looks like a scene. Both men wear jackets over checked shirts. The woman is in a pink twin set with a matching hair band supporting her bouffant; And the baby is in what appears to be a Dungaree.

On the table are glasses of water and wine, bread in a basket and two plates. One topped with slices of salami and cheese and a pile of beans, and the other a small mountain of fried egg size. Potato cakeor potato pancakes. The child is holding one hand while smiling. In fact, everyone is smiling. The photo is on page 67 of the 1971 magazine, Benvenuti a Trento (Welcome to Trento.

according to Confraternita della Torta e del Tortel de Patate, Brotherhood of Potato Cakes and Fritters (whose headquarters are in Trentino, a region in upper Italy, where the city of Trento is), three things are important when making a great or little tortilla. flame. First, the type of potato; They suggest kennebec, an all-purpose white potato that was developed in Maine in the 1940s. Secondly, the grater, which should have large holes. And third, the pan, which must be copper.

I was outside before I got in. I don’t have Kennebec potatoes or a copper skillet. However, I have a box grater that has big holes, the kind of holes that produce specific slivers of carrots and apples for coleslaw, cucumbers for yogurt and apples that then turn miserable brown in the yogurt. So I grated, squeezed, added salt and started shaping the pancakes. It was almost immediately obvious that the gratings in my hand wouldn’t turn into those flat, consistent pancakes that were making a child smile. But I squeezed them as hard as I could and fried them anyway. While frying them, the potatoes escaped my shape and turned into fragile sea urchins. Which was good to eat, but not good enough for a dish.

The Trentino/Alto Adige tourist site I Love Val di Non mentions the Brotherhood, as well as one from Nonna Maria, “a reliable chef who has never disappointed anyone; family, guests or friends, Italians and foreigners who sat at her table.” I feel more comfortable with Nonna Maria than I do with the Brotherhood, although they are probably part of the same marketing board. However, the large holes on its grater are very different from those on a grater. It produces a coarse mush, the consistency that I associate with horseradish. While she says she excretes the extra water, she’s still quite wet, so she’s also adding flour: 2 tablespoons of flour to a kilo of potatoes is her ratio. She uses a large spoon to raise the thick, batter-like mixture into a non-stick frying pan in which she heats up a little oil. Use the same spoon to rotate the top and flatten the mixture slightly. I find they need a little help with the spoon; It should flip easily, so you can fry the other side as well. they look like Manal With a golden greasy pancake. It is useful to soak them briefly, on a kitchen towel, before lifting them to a serving dish and sprinkle with salt.

Another picture, on the wall of a restaurant called Maso Finisterre in Trento, names them Potato TortelloEach one is served on its own small wooden board, along with some salami from Trentino, their signature cheese. caps (which I assume is pickled cabbage) and beans. Meanwhile, at one of the tables in the same restaurant sits a Sicilian man, an English woman, and a child holding a potato pie and frowning. Nobody can bother bargaining. The man and woman divide the rest of the pancakes between them, and then smile.

Potato pancakes (potato cakes)

to equip 10 minutes
cook 15 minutes
Make about 16

3 large all-purpose white potatoes (about 1 kg)
2 tablespoons
pure flour
Salt and Pepper
olive oil
for frying
Salami, cheese and picklesto serve

Peel and grate the potatoes over the large holes of a box grater, ideally one that creates a coarse puree, rather than set pieces. Squeeze out the excess water as much as possible.

In a bowl, mix the grated potatoes with the flour, salt and pepper.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Lift 1 tablespoon full of the potato mixture into the skillet, using the spoon to flatten the top slightly, and allow to fry. Use a spoon to lift a corner to make sure the underside is golden, then flip and fry on the other side.

Transfer to a plate lined with a kitchen towel to dry, then transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with salt and serve in one go with sliced ​​cheese, salami and pickles.

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