Apologies for my delay in posting this… our overpriced internet service seems to be disconnecting frequently and I only have the patience to jump through hoops so many times.
Being a big fan of sweet potatoes (and their more impressive nutritional profile), I don’t buy many regular potatoes these days, but I’ve been getting a lot in the CSA as of late. And true to my Scandinavian roots, I still really, really love me some tiny little red and new potatoes, whose taste and texture far surpass those giant varieties at the store. So, yesterday morning for brunch I cracked open my 1984 edition of a Swedish potato cookbook. Yes, people in Sweden love potatoes this much:
It cracks me up that a giant sprig of dill wouldn’t suffice, they also felt the need to jab a wooden Swedish flag into that bucket of potatoes. But who am I kidding? I have nearly the same wooden flag sitting atop my own cookbook bookshelf, next to a little wooden lady doll in blue and yellow dress holding a pair of skis.
Many many years ago at some kind of visit to my dad and stepmom’s house in Ft. Lauderdale, my (also Swedish) stepmom made us this unfamiliar-to-me Swedish dish called “raggmunkar.” It’s a bit like a cross between a Swedish pancake and a potato pancake, and is usually served with lingonsylt (or lingonberry jam, which is tart in the way cranberries are). I went that route, while my ladyfriend ate hers simply salted, alongside some tempeh bacon, blanched green and yellow wax beans, and fresh heirloom tomatoes. If you want a true Swedish experience and can handle the caffeine, you’d also eat these with a really strong cup of black coffee.*
Raggmunkar (serves 2-3)
1 lb red potatoes
1/2 c flour (I used white spelt)
2 tbsp garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c non-dairy milk
oil or non-hydrogenated margarine for frying
Whisk together the flours, salt, and a little of the milk until a smooth, thick batter results. Whisk in the rest of the milk. Rinse and peel the potatoes, then grate them coarsely and transfer them immediately to the batter to prevent them from discoloring. Stir to distribute evenly.
Coat a skillet (cast iron is ideal) with a layer of oil or margarine – a few tablespoons for me lasted the entire cooking process without the need to re-oil AND didn’t overly freak out my fear of frying things. A medium heat tending slightly towards low side is ideal, as you need it warm enough to cook the raw potato, but not hot enough to burn it before they cook through. Ladle in about 1/2 cup of the batter at a time and spread it out evenly into a circle (I used the bottom of my metal measuring cup). Cook until the edges begin to turn golden, and the liquid part of the batter dries on top, then flip and cook the other side until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve hot (kept warm in a low oven if necessary), adding salt and pepper to taste.
*My Swedish grandparents would bring with them a glass jar full of instant coffee granules whenever they came to the U.S., to add to the cups of coffee they got in restaurants (which they referred to as “dishwater”). Too bad I never got to take them to Hard Times Cafe, although apart from the coffee I don’t think they would have liked the atmosphere all that much.