Monday, February 01, 2010
Red Flannel Hash Cakes
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living. These “cakes” are basically like red latkes. We toyed with the idea of calling them shiksa latkes, but I decided to veto the idea because I am not about to refer to something as a latke when it contains bacon! So I kept the original title, even though I changed the recipe a bit. (It should be said that I won’t be making these often, as the Engineer feels the taste of beets is too pronounced and he doesn’t like beets.)
The original recipe called for cooked, cubed beets, along with grated potatoes and small strips of leek. I found that the texture of the cakes was wrong, and they fell apart much too easily. I ended up grating the beets after cooking them. This improved their texture, but they still fell apart too much for me at the first batch (I cooked four at a time). I added an egg white, and while the consistency was much improved, it still wasn’t perfect (second batch). So I added a beaten egg to the remaining preparation, and it satisfied me. I’ll therefore recommend two beaten eggs in the recipe, just to hold the cakes together. I recommend serving these with sour cream or lactose-free yogurt (strained or not).
1 pound medium red beets (2 to 3 beets)
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for frying
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
7 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 450 °F. Place beets on a large piece of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp oil, and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp salt; season with pepper. Fold foil and seal to form a packet. Place packet in oven, and roast until beets are tender, about 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Peel beets with a paring knife or a vegetable peeler and grate.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes. Add leek, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 8 minutes.
Stir in beets and thyme, and cook 1 minute more. Transfer beet mixture to a large bowl, reserving skillet.
Peel potatoes and grate them. Add potatoes, eggs and 1 Tbsp salt to the beet mixture, and toss to combine.
Heat 2 Tbsp oil in the reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches of 4 and adding more oil as needed, drop ¼ cup potato mixture into skillet. Gently flatten hash cakes with a spatula. Cook, flipping once, until cakes are just beginning to crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels as you work, and keep warm in a 200 °F oven if desired.