Potatoes are such a versatile food. Their bland, earthy make-up compliments nearly every palate; from crispy home-fries to a thick fluffy mash. A potato’s texture can meld and adjust to the whims and desires of anyone who craft with the humble spud: thin-cut, delicate shoestings, thick and chunky wedges or smooth yet grainy baked. The potato is a vegetable with endless possibilities so it’s no surprise people started turning them into pancakes.
The ladke hails from eastern Europe and if you have a Baba, Bubbe or Babushka chances are you’ve already delighted in the lacy, crispy-on-the-outside-creamy-on-the-inside deliciousness that is a potato pancake but for the rest of you, I offer this tried and true ladke recipe that is guaranteed to make you drool. Top your pancake with a savory spinach tzatziki for a Mediterranean twist on a hearty classic.
Serves 4 as a side or two as a main.
4 large potatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
2 egg, beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c. flour
Peel and grate your potatoes. Rinse the gratings in a bowl of very cold water to wash away starch, then drain and pat potato dry between thickly folded sheets of paper towel.
In a large bowl combine grated potato, egg, garlic, lemon juice salt and flour. Mix well. Butter your grill or frying pan well and then plop your potato ‘batter’ onto the hot surface. Press into pancake shapes and cook for about 5 minutes (until the bottoms are nice and brown). Flip and repeat on the other side. Serve hot and steaming and topped with spinach tzatziki.
1 bunch of spinach, washed but not dried
1 clove garlic, minced (must be very very small)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c. strained greek yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
Place washed spinach in a frying pan and cook over medium heat. What begins as a large bunch of leafy greens quickly wilts into a significantly reduced dark green mass of cooked spinach. Remove from heat and place your greens in a colander. Press out the spinach juice with the back of a spoon until the green mash is fairly dry. Move your spinach onto a cutting board and chop it into little pieces. In a medium bowl mix all of your ingredients together and taste to make sure you’ve got the salt just right.