Recipe - Zemiakové Placky (Slovakian Potato Pancake)

I had forgotten that a part of AP European History class at GGHS after the exam is the "cultural exchanges" where classmates make foods from different nations. I don't even remember what I had brought in or which country I had. However, the other day, my younger brother told me that he got Slovakia for his country and needed to make something so when it got to the day before, we got working for hours on making a large quantity of this delicious food. We ended up using 23 potatoes (which took years to peel and grate) and larger amounts of what the recipe below will say. I wouldn't recommend it but if you really want to, you can make large amounts as well; adjust as needed.

Step 1: Ingredients (serving size: varies)

  • vegetable oil, for pan
  • black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • marjoram, to taste
  • 1/4 cup bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 large potatoes

  • Marjoram - if you do not have any, oregano is good close substitute
  • Bacon - this is optional and will change the salt content of your pancakes so don't forget that when you add salt to the mix

Step 2: Preparing the potatoes
Peel and grate your potatoes. They should be grated quite finely for a nice texture. I used a small cheese grater which is why it took a while to do. Potatoes oxidize and turn pink/red pretty quickly after being cut so one thing I did to slow the process was to drop my potatoes into bowls of heavily salted water. They turned out pretty cheesy looking. Drain the potatoes as best you can by pushing them against a strainer. Try to remove as much water as possible.

Step 3: Making the mix
Mince your garlic and chop the onion. Then add all remaining ingredients except for the bacon into the mix. Heat up a pan and cook the bacon if you're going to be using some (reserve the bacon grease and oil). Once those have cooked and been drained, chop the strips up. For the ingredients that all mostly say "to taste" in the list above, eyeball a good amount and then fry up a small portion of the mix to see if you like the seasonings. If not, add as you see fit. Keep in mind that the bacon will make the pancakes saltier so if it's lacking salt pre-bacon, don't add more. Churn up the mix until everything is spread evenly. You can see that my potatoes started oxidizing by the time I got to this step - don't worry if yours do too because the taste doesn't change.

Step 4: Frying and finishing
Pour the oil and grease from the bacon cooking into a separate bowl. If you didn't make any bacon, you can use new supplies of oil. Heat up a pan and then add a thin layer of oil in it. You need hot oil to make these pancakes fry to a nice looking color (and cook faster). Fry one side until the open side looks dry and then flip. Make sure to line your plate or tray with paper towels to soak up any excess oil on the pancakes once you take them out of the pan. Enjoy!