This pan boxty is essentially an Irish potato pancake. Just a few ingredients–grated potatoes, a little flour, and butter–constitute this classic Irish dish. Lovers of colcannon, rösti, latkes, and hash browns will find comfort here.
The best way we can think to describe pan boxty is to that they’re hash browns’ answer to fudgy brownies. See, pan boxty is essentially a huge hash brown with the characteristically crisp, crackling surface but a dense and almost-but-not-quite gooey interior. It’s an Irish classic. And, as with so many classics, there’s all manner of shapes, sizes, and incarnations of the recipe. But the love for pan boxty is singular, as witnessed by the following little Irish ditty. (Feminists, please note, LC cannot take credit for this rhyme nor will LC be held responsible for it.)
Boxty on the griddle
Boxty on the pan
If you don’t eat boxty
You’ll never get your man.
Originally published March 13, 2012. –Renee Schettler Rossi
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H
- Serves 4
- 6 medium russet potatoes (3 lbs), unpeeled
- Small handful all-purpose flour (2 to 3 tablespoons)
- Butter (about 4 tablespoons)
- Fresh herbs (optional)
- 1. Scrub the potatoes but don’t peel them. Line a bowl with a flour sack towel or some cheesecloth. Grate the potatoes onto the cloth, then gather the ends of the cloth and squeeze the liquid from the potatoes into the bowl. Set the potatoes and cloth aside, and let the potato liquid in the bowl sit until the starch settles, 10 to 20 minutes. You should have 8 to 10 cups of grated potatoes.
- 2. Carefully drain the water from the starch in the bottom of the bowl, reserving the starch and discarding the water. Add the grated potatoes to the bowl, a small handful of flour (maybe two tablespoons or so), and a generous pinch of salt and toss to coat the potatoes.
- 3. Melt a generous blob of butter in a large cast-iron skillet (10 to 12 inches) over medium heat. Add the potato mixture and pat it down into an even layer. It should be 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Cook over medium heat, letting it turn a nice golden brown. Brown one side before turning it over. Don’t increase the heat above medium to rush it, but do peek occasionally to make certain the potatoes aren’t browning too quickly. You want the outside to turn pale brown by the time the inside is slowly becoming tender. Flip the boxty. (Here’s the thing with flipping the boxty. (You can do this by sliding a plate over the skillet, carefully inverting it, then carefully slipping the boxty back into the skillet. Or you can use a couple of spatulas and a flick of the wrist. Or if you prefer a chunky hash, flip the potatoes over in chunks and press them with the back of the spatula to make them even.) Cook the pan boxty on the other side until crisp and golden on the outside, tender and creamy on the inside, about 40 minutes total, depending on the heat and the size of your skillet. Again, be patient and don’t crank the heat or the outside will scorch while the inside remains underdone.
- 4. Cut the boxty into 4 wedges and serve it straight from the skillet.