The first year that I lived in Los Angeles, I worked at a major entertainment studio. Ultimately it wasn’t a good fit for what I wanted to do (it wasn’t a food blog, after all), but they threw one heck of a holiday party. The holiday party I attended was held on the set of a popular television show AND it had an open bar. Way more interesting to me, though, was the impressive selection and variety of appetizers. The servers delivered tray after tray of amazing tasty bites, and naturally that’s what I remember the most. One of my favorite snacks that night were the Potato Pancakes with Shredded Barbecue Pork, and I recently decided it was time to indulge once again.
I started with a pretty basic potato pancake. I shredded potatoes and onions using my food processor although you could definitely use a box grater. I added eggs, flour, and baking powder for binding and seasoned with salt and pepper. After a quick fry in vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet, the potato pancakes were golden brown and delightfully crispy.
Sour Cream with Scallions
At this point, I deviated from my memory of the original appetizer. I love contrasting flavors and temperatures in my food: Hot buffalo wings dipped into cooling ranch dressing, spicy chicken tacos topped with guacamole. Partly for visual appeal, and partly because it sounded like the best idea ever, I decided to do a dollop of sour cream in my version. Inspired by a fabulous steakhouse back in Milwaukee, I stirred sliced scallions and seasoned salt into the sour cream another level of flavor.
Shredded Barbecue Pork & Assembly
To complete the humble potato pancake’s journey to ultimate stardom, I spooned shredded barbecue pork on top of the sour cream layer and garnished with scallions. The salty, crispness of the potato shreds, the cool, tangy sour cream, and the sweet, smoky barbecue sauce creates a glorious harmony of flavors with each bite. Perfection in potato form.
So how do you bring this magnificent appetizer to life for your own party? The shredded barbecue pork can easily be made in advance, in a slow cooker even, and kept warm (Try my easiest-ever 3-ingredient Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork). The sour cream is actually better if it’s made in advance so the flavors have time to blend and really infuse the sour cream with flavor. The potato pancakes can be fried and kept warm in a 300ºF oven until it’s serving time. The assembly itself takes only minutes. For me, the hardest part is not eating every single assembled appetizer immediately… AKA saving some for my friends and family.
- 8 oz. light sour cream
- ½ tsp. seasoned salt
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 T. flour
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ c. vegetable oil
- 2 c. prepared shredded pork in barbecue sauce, warmed
- Move an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large plate with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and seasoned salt. Carefully fold in most of the scallions, reserving 2 T. of the green tops for garnish. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes or overnight.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor fitted with a shredded disc or with a boxed grater, shredded the potatoes and onions. Pour onto a clean kitchen towel. Gather the towel around the potatoes and onions and squeeze over a sink or bowl to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the shredded potatoes and onions to a large bowl.
- Stir in eggs, flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. Mix until uniformly combined.
- Preheat the oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy duty skillet until shimmering. Drop heaping rounded tablespoons of the shredded potato mixture into the oil and flatten with a heatproof utensil. Do not overcrowd.
- Fry until golden brown on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully flip using a fish turner or other heatproof spatula. Continue to cook until the second side is golden brown and crusty, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Repeat with remaining shredded potato mixture until all potato pancakes are cooked (you should have about 24 potato pancakes). Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven to keep warm until serving time.
- To assemble, arrange the potato pancakes on a serving platter. Place a dollop of sour cream on top of each, and then nestle a small mound of barbecue pork into the sour cream. Garnish with the reserved fresh sliced scallions and serve immediately.