French Potato Pancakes with Apple Compote

French Potato Pancakes with Apple Compote

“A French Latke, as Big as the Pan” via The New York Times


Potato Pancake:
1 medium spanish onion
2 large russet potatoes, peeled (about 1 3/4 pounds)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Grapeseed oil, for frying
Apple compote, for serving
1/2 cup crème fraîche, for serving

Apple Compote:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 to 6 Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups, from about 2 pounds apples)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped
2 tablespoons brandy, such as Calvados


1. Working quickly to avoid discoloration, cut onion and potatoes in large chunks and then shred them, either by hand or by using the grating blade of a food processor.

2. One handful at a time and working over the sink, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the potato and onion mixture and transfer to a medium bowl. Mix gently with your fingers. Pour the melted butter over the mixture, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and lightly work in with your fingers.

3. Heat an 8-inch nonstick frying pan and pour in enough grapeseed oil to lightly coat the bottom. When oil is almost smoking, spoon half the potato mixture into the pan, spreading it over the bottom of the pan and patting it down gently with a spatula so it is about an inch thick. Use the spatula to push in stray pieces to make a clean edge.

4. Fry for about 4 minutes on one side or until golden brown around the edges, then slide onto a plate. Invert the pan over the plate and flip, transferring pancake back into the pan on its other side. Cook for another 4 minutes or until crispy on the outside.

5. Slide pancake onto a paper-towel-covered plate and blot with additional paper towels to absorb excess oil. Remove top paper towels and flip pancake onto a clean plate using the same method as above. Keep in a warm oven as you repeat the process with the remaining potato mixture.

6. Season finished pancakes with more salt if desired. Using a sharp knife, cut like a pie into 6 pieces and serve each with a little apple compote and a dollop of crème fraîche.

For the Compote:

1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add apples, sugar and vanilla seeds and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until apples start to soften and liquid starts to cook away.

2. Add brandy, raise the heat and cook 2 more minutes to deglaze the pan, until much of the liquid is evaporated. Cover pan and cook over a very low heat, about 5 minutes, until apples are soft. Remove from heat and serve warm or at room temperature.