I Tried Making Australian Potato Scallops, and My Family Has Never Devoured Anything So Fast

published Oct 22, 2022
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Credit: Amelia Rampe

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

Credit: Amelia Rampe

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.

Credit: Amelia Rampe

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.