Although Wolfgang Puck is best known for putting smoked salmon, caviar and dill-flecked crème fraîche on his designer pizzas, he also loves a trio of special toppings on his Crispy Potato Pancakes, one of the dishes that he featured at the star-studded 2010 Governors Ball — the dinner celebration that takes place each year immediately following the Academy Awards. "The Governors Ball is a celebration of artistry and achieving your dreams," says Puck. "Our art is on the plate for everyone to savour and enjoy. We cast star-quality ingredients and keep the focus on flavour." A wonderfully decadent dish, Crispy Potato Galette with Smoked Salmon & Dill Crème makes a sumptuous brunch dish, light entrée or elegant appetizer for any occasion, but for Hollywood's elite, Puck garnished the dish with mixed baby greens, chopped capers and edible baby nasturtiums, making this dish a truly Oscar worthy culinary performance.
Crispy Potato Galette with Smoked Salmon, Dill Cream & Baby Greens
Recipe and photo courtesy of Wolfgang Puck
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 small shallot, minced
2 tbsp fresh dill, minced2 tsp lemon juice, plus more for brushing
1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled
1 small onion, peeled
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup vegetable cooking oil
3 tbsp butter
1/2 pound smoked salmon or gravlax
1 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
3 cups of baby micro greens
Edible flowers, such as nasturtiums
In a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche, shallot, dill, chives and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk the mixture until thickened, about 30 seconds. Cover and chill.
Using the large holes of a box grater, or the grating disk on a food processor, shred the potatoes into a mixing bowl, then grate in the onion. Transfer the mixture to a cheesecloth-lined bowl, and twisting the cloth around it, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Then transfer to another bowl. Add the egg, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, and mix with a fork until well blended.
Heat some vegetable oil and a knob or two of butter in a large, heavy skillet until it ripples and feels quite hot. With a metal tablespoon, scoop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, patting down the mixture with an offset spatula to form an evenly thin pancake about 3 inches in diameter. For appetizers, just make the pancakes more bite-size. Add more spoonfuls, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook the pancakes until they're crispy and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning them over carefully with a slotted metal spatula. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Continue with the remaining mixture. If not serving right away, allow the galettes to cool completely. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400°F, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and heat in the oven until crisp, about 10 minutes.
To serve, transfer the galettes to a platter or individual serving plates. Spoon a small dollop of the crème fraîche mixture onto each pancake and top with generous folds of smoked salmon. A little secret, Puck lightly dabs the salmon with some oil and lemon juice to make them glisten! Garnish with a small mound of baby greens and a sprinkling of small edible flowers and chopped capers over the dish and around the plate. Serve immediately.
WINE SUGGESTION: These crisp potato pancakes hark back to Puck's Austrian heritage, so serving them with an Austrian dry Riesling or even a bottle of 'bubbly' feels quite appropriate!