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CHEF'S SECRETS

Pancakes Do the Mashed Potato

February 27, 1992|ROSE DOSTI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Robert Gatsby, the chef at Xiomara in Pasadena, flashed back to his native New York when he created this recipe for potato pancakes. "New York is the place for potato pancakes," he says.

In New York, potato pancakes are customarily served well seasoned with pepper, and sometimes with herbs added. Gatsby substituted fines herbes , a classic French herb mixture that includes chervil, tarragon and chives (parsley is not technically a fine herbe but it is often included in the group), for the leeks that had often been used in potato pancakes by Xiomara Ardolina, formerly the chef-owner of Epicurean restaurant in La Canada and now the owner of Xiomara. "It's the herbs that make the difference," says Gatsby.

XIOMARA POTATO PANCAKES

4 cups mashed potatoes (about 6 or 7 potatoes)

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons finely chopped fines herbes (thyme, parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon)

3 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream

4 eggs

2 egg whites

Salt, pepper

Olive oil

Combine mashed potatoes, flour and herbs in bowl. Add creme fraiche. Work in eggs and egg whites. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet or griddle. Drop mixture, about 1 tablespoon at time, or enough mixture to make cake 2 inches in diameter onto skillet.

When surface of cake bubbles, turn to cook other side. Cakes are done when edges are brown. Makes 5 dozen or 12 servings.

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