Who can turn down a holiday that makes a point of frying things in oil? The potato pancake, with its sweet-savory tendencies, is always a crowd-pleaser. But for a fresh twist on the old favorite, we went to chef Floyd Cardoz at Tabla, Danny Meyer’s modern Indian restaurant in NYC.
Potato Apple Tikki
2 large Idaho potatoes
1 lg. apple (Mutsu, Empire)
1 tbsp. ginger root, minced
½ fresh green chili pepper, sliced
¼ c. cilantro leaves, cut into thin strips
½ tbsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground fine
½ tsp. black pepper, toasted and ground fine
¼ tsp. chat masala
¼ c. blue cheese (Rogue, Oregon), crumbled
¼ c. oil
1. Roast whole Idaho potatoes on a bed of salt until just tender (but not mushy). Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Peel and grate potatoes on large side of box grater.
3. Peel and grate half the apple. Place in cheesecloth and squeeze dry.
4. Combine the potato and apple, season with salt and pepper. Add the ginger, chili pepper, cilantro, coriander, black pepper, and chat.
5. Form rounds slightly smaller than golf balls.
6. Using a round mold (1½-inch diameter), take one ball and form it on the base of the mold. Place a little less than 1 tbsp. of blue cheese on top and one more potato ball on top of that. Finish forming smooth tikkis, then refrigerate.
7. Place a heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, add half the oil, and heat until it shimmers. Add half the potato tikkis to the pan and cook until golden. Turn them over; cook the other side until golden brown. Repeat.
Photo: Janelle Jones