by Corin Hirsch
Turkey hash, turkey chili, turkey sandwiches. When it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers, the bird dominates.
While I definitely have plenty of turkey left, more challenging to repurpose is the surfeit of uneaten mashed potatoes. Reheated mashed potatoes are no fun; potato pancakes, however, are. Rolling mashed potatoes into sticky balls with your hands, then smashing them into discs and frying them to a crispy nut- brown, is a tactile way to spend a post-Thanksgiving brunch.
Potato pancakes — or latkes, if you prefer — are also harbingers of Hanukkah, when they're eaten as part of the celebration. Topping them with smoked salmon (or trout), sour cream, pickled red onions and dill sprigs makes for a fresh, briny, filling lunch. And with a glass of 'leftover' Prosecco, they pave the way for yet another food-induced nap.
Note: If you're an experienced latke maker, know that mashed-potato pancakes take longer to cook. They'll also shrink more during frying and become misshapen. If you used copious amounts of butter and cream in your mashed potatoes (as I did), you won't need any extra moisture. If it seems like they want to fall apart, though, add a beaten egg as a binder. And since this is a very feel-your-way-through-it kind of snack, ingredient amounts are loose and approximate.
Mashed Potato Pancakes with Pickled Red Onions, Smoked Salmon & Dill
1 red onion
Dash of salt
A bowl of leftover mashed potatoes
More salt & pepper
Smoked salmon or trout
A few sprigs of dill
First, quick-pickle some red onion: Peel, halve and then slice a red onion into very thin slivers; pile the onion into a bowl, cover with red wine (or cider or rice vinegar) and throw a dash of salt and half a handful of sugar in and stir until sugar dissolves. Let sit for an hour.
Put a sauté pan on medium heat and pour in enough oil to cover the bottom (I used canola). While the oil heats, shape mashed potatoes into golf-ball-size orbs, then flatten between your palms and drop into the hot oil. While they cook, sprinkle the tops liberally with salt and pepper.
Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Keep cooked pancakes in a warm oven while you finish the rest.
When finished, smear each cake with sour cream, then layer on a few curls of pickled onion, a flap of salmon and a sprig of dill. Finish with coarse sea salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.