For me these are the perfect spring time savoury pancake. They have a wonderful crispness on the outside and the lightest, airy soft centre, which is interspersed with blobs of molten, melted feta.
The method of cooking these is a little different to usual pancakes. Like the gaelic potato farl, they are fried dry in the pan with a little flour instead of oil. The stickiness of the potato mixture encrusts the toasted flour to the pancake, creating a wonderful golden crust. Although I am not at all adverse to pan frying in oil, I find that this way creates the best effect for this recipe. It also makes the recipe a lot lighter too.
Due to the presence starch in the humble spud that means there is no need for eggs to bind them together. Just a little olive oil and flour. So if you want to make the recipe vegan, you can, just omit the feta cheese from the mixture and serve with mashed avocado and a baked mushroom instead (see note below)*
In most cases I end to make this with unused boiled potatoes, or mash. They are a great and resourceful recipe for leftovers, showing potatoes are more than just a bit on the side. I certainly recommend making the full recipe, even if you are just cooking for two. You can easily store the remaining pancakes in a sealable container in the fridge for a couple of days and pop them in the toaster, to have as a bread alternative. They are light and great for anyone who is sensitive to grains.
Poached Eggs on Basil and Feta Potato Pancakes
For this you can use any soft, floury variety of potato. I favour either organic maris pipers or king Edwards. I also leave the skin on for extra vitamins and fiber.
Makes 8 – Serves 4
- 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- a pinch of sea salt
- 30g white spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g feta, crumbled into small pieces
- a small handful of basil leaves, plus extra to serve
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 avocados
- 8 eggs
- a dash white wine vinegar
- 180g Greek yoghurt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2½ tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- a handful of basil leaves
Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/ gas mark 5
In a pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer on medium-high heat until the centre of the potatoes are tender when checked with a fork, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile make the herb yoghurt by adding all the ingredients to a blender and blitzing until smooth. Place the sauce in the fridge.
One the potatoes are fully cooked, turn off heat. Drain, return potatoes to pot and allow to completely dry out over remaining heat. Mash until smooth. Place warm mashed potato in medium bowl. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Mix lightly until dough forms then carefully fold through the crumbled feta and half the chopped herbs. On a well floured surface, knead the dough lightly to bring it together. The dough will be sticky.
Use a floured rolling pin to flatten into a 9 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a knife, or round cutter, divide the dough into circles, the size of pancakes (approx 5) You should get 4. You can use the leftover potato mixture to make a fifth.
Sprinkle a little flour into the base of a dry frying pan and cook the round farls for 3-4 minutes on each side or until evenly browned. Then set aside
Poach the eggs by bringing a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add a tablespoon of vinegar.
Take the saucepan temporarily off the heat. Crack one of your eggs into a cup, then gently pour it into the water. Repeat the same process with the rest of the eggs. I would recommend you do no more than two at a time.
You’ll see them begin to cook immediately. A soft poached egg should take between 2 and 3 minutes, but this will depend on the size of egg. To check whether they’re done, remove one carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle push with a teaspoon. It should be slightly firm all the way through and there should be no see through appearance to the white.
When they’re ready, remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper to dry off.
Arrange each farl on a plate, top with 1/2 avocado sliced and then a poached egg. Finish with a dollop of basil yoghurt, feta and a few baby basil leaves
*For the mushrooms : Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place mushrooms, gill side up, on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and rub with grated garlic, add a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt to each cap. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and serve with the pancakes, sliced avocado and basil.
This post is in support of Potatoes: More than a bit on the side campaign