Snow Day Nordic Brunch- Potato Pancakes, Poached Eggs and Smoked Salmon

Nordic BrunchIt finally snowed in New York City!  As far as I’m concerned, the timing is perfect.  I know that the warm weather that we’ve been having is probably a sight at the end is near, but I loved it.  As I’ve mentioned before I had a rough fall and early winter.  Cold weather might have sent me over the edge.  I’m just now feeling like I can handle the it.  That said, for the last two week I’ve been struggling with a deadly combo of some serious jet lag and being slammed with work.  The result is that I’ve been getting maybe 2 to 4 hours of sleep a night (plus random naps on the subway).  I’m normally adjust to new times zones without much difficulty at all, but in this case it really did take me one day to adjust for every hour of difference (thirteen days for thirteen hours of time difference between NYC and Shanghai).  I have been so tired that I feel like I’m loosing my mind.  Last night though, as the snow began to fall and the city quieted down I fell asleep at 9:30!  I slept for 11 hours.  I feel like a new person.Nordic BrunchThis morning I made a snow day Nordic brunch for my husband and I.  It’s inspired by the excellent Swedish breakfast that is served at Hamilton’s in Kengsinton, Brooklyn.  Hamilton’s Swedish breakfast is a crispy potato pancake topped with smoked salmon, a poached egg, capers and a bit of red onion and served with a green salad.  My husband doesn’t go for red onions, so I left those off but if I had chives on hand I would have used them.  We had Sautéed Swiss Chard instead of a green salad.  Some fresh dill would have been nice but I wasn’t going to tromp around in the snow to find it.

I eat a lot of potato pancakes, with poached eggs and sautéed swiss chard for weekend brunches and for midnight snacks with homemade mayonnaise.  I usually shred my potatoes thickly with a fabulous antique wonder shredder.  The thin shreds are really nice for this breakfast though, so I used a mandolin to create very thin long shreds.  A food processor could accomplish this as well, but I don’t have room for one in my bitty kitchen.   I am a staunch fan of the russet potato for pancakes.  They have exactly the right amount of starch and moisture to stick together without having to add any flour or egg.  They are a potato pancake waiting to happen.

When I travelled to Estonia (Tartu, Tallinn, Hiiumaa kassari) I became obsessed with a cultured dairy product called Kohupiim.   It’s like sour cream or yogurt but it has a special taste. The original piima culture was made with milk from cows who ate butterwort herb.  When I first came home from Estonia, I intended to acquire a pima culture make my own kohupiim at home, but that never happened.  I made a Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter instead so that I could make Gluten-Free Dark Estonian Bread known as Leib.  My little Brooklyn kitchen can only accommodate one home fermentation project at a time.  Anyway, in Estonia you can buy radish flavored Kohupiim at the supermarket and I ate many tubs of it.  Those of you who read this blog regularly are aware of my deep love of radishes.  This breakfast would be killer with some radish kohupiim.  In lieu of that, I used flavored some sour cream with horseradish and it was pretty darn tasty.

I used smoked salmon bits, which are the ugly offcuts that are leftover after beautiful elegant slices of lox are created.  They are cheaper (like by half) and taste just as good.  So, my picture would be prettier if I had bought lox, but then you would not have heard about this excellent tip for frugal smoked fish consumption!Nordic Brunch


serves 2-4 people

  • a bit of salt and a splash white vinegar for egg poaching water
  • 2-4 Tablespoons mild oil for frying
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 pound smoked salmon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons horseradish (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • fresh snipped chive (optional)
  • fresh snipped dill (optional)
  1. Place a saucepan with 3 inches of water over high flame.  Add a bit of salt and a splash of vinegar to the water and cover the pan.
  2. Warm the oil in a large skillet (I like cast iron) over medium high flame.
  3. While the oil heats, peel and shred the russet potatoes,  Add the shredded potatoes to  the hot oil in four clumps.  Flatten them a bit and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Keep you eye on the pancakes while you move forward with the eggs and flip them when you can see that they are getting golden on the first side.
  4. When the water is boiling, carefully place 4 eggs (still in their shell) into the boiling water.  Leave them there for 10 seconds and then fish them out.  Crack the eggs into the water one at a time, taking care not to break the yolk or get bits of shell in.  Most people like to crack each egg into a small bowl before slipping it into the water, but I skip that step and it usually works out okay.  The amount of time that the eggs will take to poach will vary depending on how large they are.  I usually check them when the pancakes are done on both sides.
  5. Serve the eggs on top of the pancakes topped with the sour cream (whisked together with horseradish if you like), capers, dill and chives.  A green salad or sautéed swiss chard is nice on the side.



11 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks so wonderful. I’m jealous of your food and your snow.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Shannon. You don’t live on the East Coast I guess!

  2. Sharon says:

    I loved your story and the recipe looks wonderful.

  3. Glenda says:

    Sleep is good! This recipe looks gorgeous!

  4. Hi, from Latvian born Australian. I share you love for Kohupiim, biezpiens in Latvian, the closest relative would be cottage cheese. I make it myself, earlier before I had kefir grains, just from the equal mix of heated milk and commercial buttermilk, now with milk and my own fermented kefir. It is excellent on its own and in baking. No comparison to ricotta cheese.
    Thank you for your recipe, I am tempted and as I do have nice potatoes I will make it for dinner, looks that delicious and appealing!

    1. Hello! My half sister and I share an Estonian father, but her mother is Latvian! Her family is Latgalian to be exact and she still has relatives in that region. Our families (Estonian and Latvian) came to Canada as refugees during WW2. I think I will try making my own Kohupiim soon. I’ve let my gluten-free sourdough starter go, so there is space now. I hope that you enjoy the potato pancakes!

      1. I actually made them, did not even wait for dinner. They were delicious. Had them with beetroot horseradish and sour cream sauce. I rarely eat potatoes now, but these were quite a treat. My father came from Latgale, too, Sauleskalns the place was called. The world is truly a small place.

  5. Kat Got Your Tongue says:

    Oh my gosh – this looks AMAZING! Can I come over for breakfast!? haha I’m Russian so I love smoked salmon and blini and potato ANYTHING. This spoke straight to my heart 🙂 I know what I’m making for breakfast this weekend!

  6. Sabrina says:

    I absolutely love this combo! Definitely considering making this for brunch this weekend…

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