For a start, this is a beautiful book, jacketed in red and white cut-out pictures of fruit and flowers, bird and fishes – it looks like a piece of middle-eastern embroidery. Inside, it’s filled with gorgeous photographs of Polish life and food. It’s written by Zuza Zak, a Polish TV producer and food blogger who includes a potted history of her native country and notes on seasonal/regional Polish food along with recipes for dishes such as herring with olive oil and cinnamon, nettle leaves in beer batter, bigos with venison, aromatic doughnuts with rose filling and nine ways to make pierogi, the delectable Polish dumpling. Potato placki with creamy chanterelles reflects the Polish love of mushrooms. Carolyn Hart
Potato placki with creamy chanterelles
2 large potatoes, peeled
half an onion
1tblsp plain flour
rapeseed oil for frying
25g salted butter
200g chanterelles (or other mushrooms if chanterelle are not available)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teasp dried thyme
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves
200ml single cream
Finely grate the onion and potato into a bowl. Pour out any excess water. Mix together to combine, then sift in the flour and add the egg. Season with salt and pepper and mix again until fully combined.
Heat a little oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot enough (test with a small spoonful of the potato mix to test – it should sizzle as it hits the pan), add spoonfuls of the potato mix to the pan (each plackek should be roughly 10-12cm in diameter). Fry for about 15 mins, turning half way through cooking until golden brown on both sides. Keep the placki warm while you repeat the process with the remaining mixture.
Melt the butter in a separate pan over a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for about 15mins until browned. Add the garlic, the dried and fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes longer, then add the cream. Turn the heat down and simmer for 7-10 mins to let the sauce thicken, stirring often. Serve the placki with a dollop of sauce on top.
Polska, new Polish cooking by Zuza Zak, photography by Laura Edwards, Quadrille £25, www.quadrille.co.uk