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Touches of Greece, Italy give potatoes global flair

    Craig T. Kojima / Additions, such as scallions, garlic, grated carrot, onion, shredded vegetables, chili peppers and Parmesan cheese, dress up potato pancakes.

The humble potato made crispy makes a meal in many tasty ways:

Kartoffelpuffer (Crispy Potato Pancakes)

From Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, Calif. (

2 eggs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup grated onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 medium russet potatoes

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Beat together eggs and flour. Add onion, salt and pepper.

Peel and grate the potatoes, then place them in bowl of water as you finish each batch.

Drain and squeeze them, one handful at a time, to extract as much water as possible. Add to the egg mixture and blend well.

Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high until rippling. Spoon in the batter, flattening and making 3- to 4-inch pancakes. Fry until bottom edges brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip carefully and cook 3 more minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Repeat with more batches until batter is gone, and add more oil as needed.

Serve immediately with applesauce, sour cream or yogurt. Makes about 12 4-inch pancakes.

Approximate nutritional information, per pancake: 150 calories, 6 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein

The original recipe for this Greek potato dish calls for roasting in a 425-degree oven for 45 minutes, which produces excellent, soft-but-crispy home fries. This stove-top version is a reasonable approximation, though you might have to tweak the times to get the potatoes properly cooked.

Greek Potatoes with Lemon Vinaigrette

Adapted from Bobby Flay on Food Network

3/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 small shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped oregano or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 pounds russet potatoes, cleaned and divided into 8 wedges

1/2 cup chicken stock

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, oregano and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the potatoes wedges with 2/3 of this vinaigrette in a roasting pan that will fit across two stove-top burners. Pour chicken stock over top.

Turn on burners, bring to boil and then seal pan with aluminum foil. Turn down to simmer for 30 minutes, turning potatoes halfway through.

Cut slits or poke holes in the foil to let steam escape; simmer another 20 minutes until most of liquid has boiled off. Add rest of vinaigrette as needed while cooking if potatoes are not soft. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste): 600 calories, 41 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 7 g protein

These potatoes seasoned with oregano and Parmesan cheese seem to turn out better with the final oven time, though you can do them entirely on the stove.

Fried Potatoes with Oregano and Parmesan

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

1 shallot, thinly sliced lengthwise

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking, then add all ingredients and mix well to coat.

Reduce heat to medium and cook covered, stirring every 5 minutes, until potatoes are nearly soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Lower heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Remove lid, raise temperature slightly and cook, flipping potatoes every few minutes, until browned and crusty, about 15 minutes. Or, put the pan in the oven at 450 degrees and roast.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then mix in cheese. Serves 2 to 4.

Approximate nutritional information (based on 4 servings and not including salt to taste): 350 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 58 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 7 g protein


Nutritional analysis by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S., a nutritionist in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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