Please, no olives. Please, no peppers. Neither (as the song goes) are “a few of my favorite things.” Mix in bananas and trout and all I could think of was “Say what?” And then I got my epiphany and visualized the dish. After doing these challenges for the past few months I’ve picked up on a few things. One: everything needs a sauce. Two: it’s better to have multiple textures. Due to an unfortunate miscommunication, I didn’t execute the dish as visualized, and instead went with my back-up plan.
First things first. Find something to do with the olives and peppers. I took the approach of pureeing both and blending the ingredients into the base of my dish, which would become what my fish would sit upon. I decided to make it into a hash brown. Of course, when I presented a sample to the girl she replied “What is this, a latke?” Umm…yeah, I guess it really did come out more like a potato pancake rather than a hash brown. Hmmm… subconsciousness was really at work here. Keep this mind when I tell you about the back-up plan.
So, two items down, two to go. The fish would be easy. I’d season it, and figured the best method to cook it would be to bake, broil or grill it. Then I would marry the banana with some kind of Grand Marnier sauce. I was thinking “creamsicle” flavoring. At least, that was the working plan. Unfortunately, the fish that the wife had purchased had gone bad by the time I started working on the challenge. Damn. Now what to do? I texted the wife and asked her to pick up a piece of fish on her way home. Meanwhile, I looked in the fridge and found an unopened package of lox. Well, at least I had a fish to work with, but I couldn’t make my creamsicle sauce to go over a thin piece of lox. I went to the back-up plan while waiting. The dish became an appetizer. I blended together the banana, horseradish, some mayonnaise and yogurt, then spread it on a smaller version of the potato pancake. I covered it all with a piece of lox. Potato pancake, horseradish and lox? Is my heritage beginning to show?
When I made the dish, the daughter was the only one home. First, she tried the potato pancake with nothing on it and she said it was OK. She didn’t really like the taste of the sweet peppers in it. She had no idea it also had olives. After adding the spread and topping it with a slice of lox, she ate the whole thing. She said it was just OK, but remarked that all she could taste was the sweetness of the banana. I purposely didn’t overdo the horseradish, thinking it was going to be too much, but I didn’t expect it to go so far in the other direction. Finally, the wife came home. I upped the horseradish for her. I was ready to serve my appetizer and asked “Where’s my trout?” She replied “I texted you and the girl earlier. You didn’t reply. The girl said you already had your fish, so I didn’t get more.” Oh. Oh my. There goes making the creamsicle sauce! After the wife and I figured out what happened, I made her one of the back-up plan appetizers. “It’s different” she said. I replied “Is it good?” She answered “Hmm. It’s strange. But surprisingly, I like it.”
After a few more bites she commented “It’s like a party of many different flavors in my mouth.” Well OK then.
I never did get a real piece of trout. I never tried to make the creamsicle sauce. Sometimes you just have to go with a back-up plan. And it turns out just fine.
Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Banana-Horseradish Sauce
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and shredded
- ½ cup sweet peppers
- ¼ cup olives
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 large egg whites
- Lox (instead of trout)
- Olive oil as needed
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp mushed banana
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 4 tsp horseradish
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Puree olives and sweet peppers. Combine with shredded potato, salt, pepper, flour and egg yolk and mix well. Place mixture in colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Take a meatball size of mixture, about 2 tbsp, and flatten into a pancake. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add pancake(s) and cook 2-3min per side or until browned. Bake pancakes in oven for additional 5 min or until cooked through.
Combine mayonnaise, banana, yogurt and horseradish in a small bowl. Place ½ teaspoon of mixture on each pancake. Top with lox piece and sprinkle with chives. Makes about 24 pancakes.