Being of Eastern European descent, potatoes have always been, and will probably always remain, a huge part of my diet. My mom would serve them boiled, roasted or mashed (my favorite) as a side, or fried, as a main course. They were also in every soup and on every holiday table. We didn’t choose to eat them – they just happened to be one of the only ingredients available in abundance. I believe the Irish suffered a similar fate.
Then, when I was about seven, a McDonald’s opened in Odessa and I got to try French-fried potatoes. I found them to be extraordinaire, of course. It wasn’t until we immigrated to the States that I learned of such wonderful items as shepherd’s pie, waffle fries, croquettes or potato pancakes. And it wasn’t until I read the May 2013 issue of Bon Appetit magazine that I thought this large skillet hash brown cake possible!
This recipe is super easy and really fun to make. It calls for few ingredients and is a great way to jazz up a boring potato repertoire – Ukrainian, Irish or otherwise.
The hash browns turned out great and cooked faster than I had anticipated, with a crisp, salty outside and soft inside. I toyed with the idea of adding more seasonings (say, rosemary) but in the end I was glad that I didn’t. Sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and the clean flavor of scallions are all this dish needed. I do think adding an egg to the potatoes would have made the pancake even more crispy and sturdier, though. Get the full recipe here.