Isn’t it funny how when you have leftover egg whites all recipes you come across call for egg yolks and vice versa? Or does this just happen to me?
A couple of recent baking projects left me with 4 egg whites and because I am burdened with an inborn thriftiness, I had to find a way to use them. When I say “egg whites”, the first thing that probably comes to mind is “macaroons”, but since I was more in need of an unfussy dinner than another fussy baking project, the egg whites ended in a potato pancake batter. Or to sound fancier: “Crêpe parmentier”, pancakes named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a Frenchman who put a considerable effort and lots of imagination into convincing his countrymen that potatoes were edible.
You might think that pancakes made from boiled mashed potatoes would be heavy, but they’re not, thanks to the egg whites. Even though these are not beaten first, they give the pancakes a slight “fluffiness”.
And since we’re talking thriftiness: I mashed some hard-boiled eggs left from Easter brunch with leafy herby stuff from the garden and made a great sauce to go with the pancakes.
Crêpe parmentier (potato pancakes)
From Nigella Lawson: How to eat
The recipe calls for a 12-cm blini pan, which I do not have. I used a slightly larger pan, but because the batter does not really spread, you could also make a larger number of smaller pancakes in a regular pan.
500 g floury potatoes
4 tsp plain flour
4 egg whites
50 ml crème fraîche or double cream
50 ml milk
vegetable oil for frying
Peel and dice the potatoes into chunks of about 2 cm x 3 cm. Put them on a steamer basket or perforated container (a metal colander would do) over gently boiling water until tender. Try them after 20 – 30 minutes, and then keep trying. The cooking time depends obviously on the size of the chunks. At about the time they’re ready, preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius and put in a plate big enough to hold all the pancakes.
Put the cooked potatoes into a bowl and add the flour mixing well. You can use a hand held electric mixer for the entire operation, but I just mashed the potatoes with a fork and then switched to a wooden spoon.
Add the eggs, egg whites (not beaten, just as they are), crème fraiche (or cream) and milk. Mix well until you’ve got a smooth, thick batter. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour a film of oil into the (blini) pan and put it on to the heat. When it’s very hot add some batter, about a half ladleful or so. When the pancake is ready to turn, you’ll notice the top beginning to bubble and the bottom will be brown; you can judge this by slipping a spatula underneath the pancake and upturning it slightly. Having flipped it over, cook it for slightly less time than the first side. You’ll get about 9 pancakes from this amount of batter, depending on size. As each pancake is cooked, put it on the plate in the oven to keep it warm.
Cold herb sauce with hard-boiled eggs
3 hard-boiled eggs
about 1 cup finely chopped spring herbs (chives, chervil, parsley, sorrel, cress, spinach, dandelion greens…whatever you’ve got, really)
100 ml mild olive oil
125 ml sour cream
100 ml milk
Mash the eggs well, add the herbs and mix everything. Add oil, stirring to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Leave the sauce in the fridge for at least 1 hour, for the flavors to marry.