Scandinavian potato pancakes with crème fraiche, roe and dill
The thing I like about pancakes, is the way they pop up in so many other cultures, a food almost as universal as bread. There are wonderful Vietnamese pancakes, stuffed with herbs, ground pork and beansprouts, classic crepes and galettes from France, fat breakfast pancakes from Canada, covered in maple syrup and yeast and buckwheat blinis from Russia.
Last week I went to Norway where pancakes are very much a part of the Scandinavian culture, too. Often served with lingonberry jam, or I am told that in Sweden sometimes cakes are made by piling up many pancakes with jam spread between the layers.
Much of the cooking in Scandinavia is simple and relies on locally sourced ingredients. In the mountains, where we were, this means game, foraged herbs and berries. Near the coast it’s sea vegetables and lots of fish. I have yet to eat at Noma in Denmark but that is where you will find the ultimate expression of this.
Fish roe is also very popular and I was inspired to try potato pancakes served with Kalix Bleak Roe and sour cream. Buckwheat in the pancake batter gives a wonderfully earthy taste which is excellent with the salty roe and the potato makes it thick and substantial without being too floury.
For the pancake batter:
100g buckwheat flour
100g plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 potato, peeled and cut (weighing about 200g)
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper
Fish roe (I used trout roe from a British supplier which was excellent)
- Sift the flours into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the beaten eggs and half of the water. Use a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together into a smooth batter, adding more water as you go, until it reaches a thin consistency. Set aside to rest while you cook the potatoes.
- Cut the potato into smaller pieces, cover with cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Cook until completely soft. Drain and mash until completely smooth. (This is best done with a potato ricer if you have one). Mix the potato into the batter, add the dill and oil and season well.
- Before you cook the pancakes, get everything ready on the table so that you can eat them hot from the pan, with the crème fraiche slightly melting when you put it on top.
- Get a frying pan hot, add a very small amount of oil or butter then fry small spoonfuls of the batter at a time, turning after a few seconds.Place them straight onto warmed plates, add a dollop of crème fraiche, a sprinkle of chopped dill and a spoonful of roe. Squeeze over some lemon and salt and pepper and eat immediately, preferably with your hands.