One of Germany's leading conceptual artists, Olaf Nicolai grew up in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz) in the heart of Saxony. His work deals with political dichotomies and cultural criticism, so it is perhaps rather fitting that he has chosen the humble Saxon potato fritter as his dish. Also called Kartoffelpuffer or Reibekuchen, these fried grated potato patties are found across Germany and Central Europe. They are often eaten with puréed apple in Berlin or with sauerkraut in Bavaria, but Nicolai prefers his seasoned with caraway seeds and buttermilk - simple ingredients for a dish rich in cultural complexity.

Method

Peel and grate 6-7 large potatoes

Add: a large peeled and grated onion
200g quark (curd cheese)
½ glass of buttermilk (approx. 200 ml)
some caraway seeds
salt

Mix well in a large bowl. Heat some sunflower or linseed oil in a pan and then add several spoonfuls of the potato mixture, flattening it with a spatula into thin pancake shapes. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Serve hot straight out of the pan either savoury with a little extra buttermilk poured over or sweet with sugar and a large dollop of apple puree with cloves and cinnamon.

This is a dish to be eaten mornings or evenings.

TAGS: ARTIST'S PALATE