I Tried Making Australian Potato Scallops, and My Family Has Never Devoured Anything So Fast
Recently, as I was researching how to make scalloped potatoes in the Instant Pot, I came across a recipe for something else entirely: potato scallops! These deep-fried disks are popular at fish-and-chip shops throughout Australia, and are also called potato cakes or potato fritters depending on the region (according to my research, it’s a hotly debated topic). To make them, you batter and fry potato slices — similar to a fish fry — and the results are everything I’d hoped they’d be and more. Here’s what you need to know.
Get the recipe: Potato Scallops
How to Make Potato Scallops
Potato scallops are pretty easy to make, although you’ll need to set aside a fair amount of time to par-cook and cool the potatoes. You’ll start by peeling and slicing Russet potatoes into 3/4-inch slices. Place them in a baking dish and cover with boiling water, then cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Allow the potatoes to rest and cool in the water for 30 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a clean kitchen towel. Allow to cool completely, about 10 minutes.
Next, make the batter. Whisk together all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt; add in seltzer, soda water, or beer; and whisk to combine. Dip the dried potato slices into the batter, then fry in 350°F oil until golden-brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.
My Honest Review of Potato Scallops
I can absolutely see why these potatoes have been nicknamed “scallops” — they look just like cute little breaded scallops after they’re fried! It’s as if fish and chips had a love child.
Due to the light seltzer-based batter, these scallops are reminiscent of Japanese tempura. Par-boiling the potatoes gives them a super-tender and fluffy texture, and battering and frying them coats them in the crispiest, crackliest outer shell. It’s this contrast in texture that makes them so good; my family and I devoured them. They didn’t stand a chance of making it to the afternoon.
In Australia, potato scallops are served freshly fried with a showering of salt (or chicken salt) and dipped in white vinegar or ketchup (known as tomato sauce in Australia), and I would never want to do them a disservice by smothering them with too many toppings. With that said, I did serve mine with a smoky aioli made with store-bought mayo, grated garlic, and smoked paprika, and I found it to be the perfect creamy complement to the crunchy potatoes.
If You’re Making Potato Scallops, a Few Tips
- Add salt to the boiling water. To thoroughly season the potatoes and enhance the flavors of the overall dish, I recommend salting the boiling water before pouring it into the dish.
- Consider how you slice them. The recipe says to slice the potatoes into 1-centimeter or 3/4-inch slices, but these are two very different sizes. If you’re like me and prefer a high breading-to-potato ratio, slice the potatoes 1-centimeter thick (roughly 1/3-inch). If you prefer more potato to breading, go for 3/4-inch.
- Dry the potatoes completely. After the potatoes are done par-baking, it’s important to dry them completely on the towel. This will reduce splatter once the spuds are in the oil.
- Experiment with the batter base. I used soda water in my batter, which gave the breading a nice, crispy exterior. With that said, I think beer would be delicious, as would the addition of spices like cayenne or garlic powder, which would give these potatoes even more flavor.
Have you ever tried potato scallops? Let us know in the comments below!