Crispy Potato-and-Sauerkraut Cakes with Smoked Trout

Jonathon Sawyer uses his grandmother’s old Griswold cast-iron pan to cook these crispy potato pancakes, which he amps up with tangy sauerkraut, fresh dill and caraway.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 48 hors d'oeuvres

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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 cup drained sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill, plus more for garnish
  • 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded (4 cups)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) or extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 smoked trout fillet (about 9 ounces), skinned and flaked
  • Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter with the caraway seeds and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauerkraut and cook, stirring, until very dry, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, add the 1/4 cup of dill and let cool.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shredded potatoes and cook for 1 minute. Drain well, shaking out the excess water. Add the potatoes to the sauerkraut and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

  3. Heat a large griddle or cast-iron skillet over moderate heat. Brush with schmaltz. Working in batches, spoon 2-tablespoon-size mounds of the potato mixture onto the griddle and flatten into 2-inch rounds, about 1/2 inch thick. Cook, turning once, until the cakes are golden and crispy, 6 to 7 minutes; add more schmaltz to the griddle as needed. Reduce the heat to moderately low after the first batch and wipe the griddle occasionally.

  4. Arrange the potato cakes on a platter and top with the crème fraîche, smoked trout, lemon zest and dill. Serve.

Suggested Pairing

Sparkling wine is a good match for fried foods, like these decadent potato pancakes, because the bubbles in the wine refresh your palate. Prosecco from Italy tends to be fairly inexpensive, which is great for entertaining. Try the NV Drusian Extra Dry or the NV Bisol Jeio Brut.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published December 2012

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