2008 is the International Year of the Potato. Over these two days (September 8-9), in Paris, France, the International Conference on Potato Issues and Prospects is being held. No, I have nothing to do with it. I'm not even in Paris. The closest event we have going on in NZ is the 7th World Potato Congress, in Christchurch, March 2009. Which isn't even the Year of the Potato, but that's the Kiwi Way. Even when it comes to honouring the noble Potato, we're fashionably late.
Had we been just across the ditch, we might have had the opportunity to attend the Pinaroo Spudfest in South Australia (April) or the Unveiling of Potato Sculptures in Trafalgar, Victoria (June). Trust the Aussies to give credit where its due.
By not being in Slovenia two days ago (and why not? you might rightly ask) I missed the 8th World Festival of Sauteed Potatoes. That would've been good to be at.
No, here in NZ the best we can do is eat our spuds with pride. Following on from yesterday's Pioneer Potatoes, today we present a Russian dish, Draniki, or Potato Pancakes. For some unknown reason, except that our eyes must have been bigger than our stomachs at some point in the not-too-distant past, we had a tray of frozen mashed potato in the freezer, which served our purpose perfectly. If you don't have pre-frozen mashed spud on hand, feel free to make yours the old-fashioned way. If anyone really needs the low-down on whipping up top-notch mashed spuds, leave a comment to that effect, and I'll gladly oblige. Either way, I suspect that it's best to let the mash cool before adding the rest of the ingredients.
200g cold creamy mashed potatoes
Freshly ground Salt and Pepper to season
1 Finely chopped Onion
2-3 T Flour
Olive Oil to loosen as required
Mix these all together until you have a dough. Add a little flour or olive oil as necessary.
The Draniki can be rolled into patties and cooked at this stage, or you can add more ingredients to make them tastier, or to upgrade them from a side dish into a main. We added whole kernel corn (from a tin), finely chopped red onion, and grated cheese. But you could add pretty much anything that will be ok with the 10 mins or so that it takes to cook them in the frying pan. Tuna, capsicum, tomato, cooked bacon, whatever.
Melt some butter in a small non-stick frying pan until it's bubbling, then add the patties to the pan. Cook until brown on the bottom, then flip and cook until brown on the other side.
Just like that, you have Draniki. And to think that we didn't even know that's what they were called when we made them (I recall I was bathing Isaac while Dessert Chef C whipped these up after a long day on the road, so any mistakes are mine). Serve with a crisp green salad and your favourite sauces.