This is the week I realized that Michael Greenspan, Dorie’s husband, and I could always sit at the same table. He and I bonded, although he doesn’t know it, over today’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Matafan. These delightful little morsels are fluffy mashed potato pancakes, a longtime French staple. Michael’s Matafan-of-Choice is warm and swimming in maple syrup. To that I might say, “Michael, never swim without adding whipped cream.” Dorie reminds us that the French Matafan, which sits somewhere between a pancake and blini, wears many hats. Usually eaten mid-morning to keep hunger at bay, it can be a side dish, snack or starter.
Lucy Vanel, http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/, a French woman whose Blog I follow, has this to say about Matafan,
“ I have been collecting recipes for Matafans for some time now, because they’re emblematic of le Pays de Savoie. There are a whole lot of recipes, because everyone does them differently. Families all through this stretch of the French Alps do their own variations on the pancake but different, some serving them with toppings to be eaten with knife and fork, some slapping local cheese between two of them to make a delicious fluffy warm sandwich to eat with your hands. These are great prepared in advance of a good uphill hike and taken out of the sack to serve as a fortifying lunch. Indeed, for what’s in them, you can estimate that a couple of Matafans will be the equivalent of a small 2 egg breakfast with hash browns and bacon, so plan some extra activity to burn them off.”
My good friend, Judy, a Francophile who lives in Philadelphia, loves her buckwheat blini topped with crèame fraîche/caviar or salmon roe. If you’re stuck with some extra Idaho Russets, these fluffy Matafans, blinis in disguise, could serve that same purpose and be delicious.
Other Dorista’s treated this French peasant/country fare with panache and flair. If you’re curious to see their take on Matafan, check out http://www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com/.