Patatnik - A Cheesy Potato Cake

Potato pancakes are popular all through Eastern Europe. This version is from Bulgaria, and it's pretty similar to most, although the addition of cheese is a little different. Normally, it would be sirene cheese but good luck finding that around here - feta is pretty close. The result is quite substantial, and we made it our lunch with a salad on the side. If you want to serve it with more dishes, you might want to cut back on the feta.

Feta is quite salty so be careful with adding more salt. It will need a little, but only a little. If you decide to omit the cheese you should add about 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt. You could replace the mint with basil in a pinch, but dried mint is actually an underused herb, in my opinion. It's worth getting it and seeing what you think of it. It's good with cheese dishes generally.

As with any dish made with grated raw potatoes, the difference between complete success and a soggy yet crumbly mess is *squeezing* those potatoes to remove as much liquid as possible. It makes all the difference. 

I actually broiled my Patatnik for 6 minutes at the end, and it looked like it. As a lover of dark crunchy potatoes I regret nothing; but I am recommending a somewhat shorter time.
 
4 servings
1 hour 20 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Patatnik - A Cheesy Potato Cake

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
600 grams (1 1/4 pounds) baking potatoes
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (consult the feta)
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
1 to 2 teaspoons rubbed dried mint
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 cup feta or sirene cheese, crumbled
1 large OR 2 small eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, again

Generously butter a 9" pie plate or similar shallow baking pan. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Wash, trim, and grate the potatoes coarsely. Squeeze them hard over the sink by handfuls, to remove as much water from them as you possibly can. Put the handfuls of dried potato shreds into a mixing bowl. When the potatoes are all squeezed, add the potato starch and seasonings. Toss well to combine. 

Crumble in the feta cheese and mix. Break in the egg(s) and mix thoroughly. The potatoes should be coated enough to stick together, but not noticeably eggy. Scrape them into the prepared pan, and press them gently but evenly into a layer. Dot with the remaining butter. 

Bake the Patatnik for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. If you feel it is done, but not quite as brown as you would like, put it under the broiler for 3 or 4 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

This can be cooked on a griddle as pancakes as well; oil it well then ladle in thin pancakes. Cook until well-browned on both sides, adding more oil as needed. Expect to get 6 to 8 fair sized pancakes. I have not tried this as I tend to think that the oven is both easier and not much slower given that you are unlikely to be able to cook all your pancakes at once, but I'm putting it out there.
 
 
 
 
Last year at this time I made Almost Whole Stuffed Cabbage

Patatnik - A Cheesy Potato Cake