A few months back I went on my annual muskie fishing trip in northeastern Wisconsin, and we had the pleasure of eating in an establishment with the motto “The liver is evil and must be punished!” With a tagline like that it was an obvious choice for Friday night fish fry dining and drinking.
The fish was lake perch sweet, bland, and fried a little too long but nothing that a dip into pre-fab tartar couldn’t fix. The highlight of the meal was the amazing potato pancakes, which were served as the standard accoutrement to the perch. The cakes were light, crispy, and cooked just so the potato still had a little tooth to it and skillet sized perfect. I guess I had never really had a potato pancake in the German-Wisconsin tradition. Everyone at the table was thoroughly disgusted with me that I hadn’t had this supper club staple ... who knew?
I asked the cook if I could have the recipe and to my surprise he said no what? Why? He claimed it was his family recipe, yadda yadda yadda. I was a wee bit miffed, but whatever. So I decided to get a few recipes together and test them. The recipe below is easily as good as his and there are really only five ingredients. Virtually every recipe I discovered and tried had the same five or six ingredients in slightly differing quantities.
Supper Club Potato Pancakes
- 3 cups peeled, grated russet potatoes
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon minced onions
- 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (optional)
- Canola oil for frying
Pat the grated potatoes with a paper towel to remove some moisture. Temper a griddle or frying pan to medium heat. In a bowl beat the eggs, onion, flour, thyme, and salt together. Add the grated potatoes to the egg mixture and stir until blended. Add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan or griddle and gently drop about 1/2-cup portions into the pan. Sread slightly and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Traditionally these are served with sour cream and applesauce, but I really think they are best plain.