A Smashing Potato Pancake Idea

Do you like mashed potatoes? Alex and I were driving back this weekend from our first tasting event for our wedding (!), and the deejay on the local country music radio station informed her listeners that she made the most amazing mashed potatoes which included something like buttermilk, chives, and horseradish.

Yikes. Can’t say that I’ve made that before. I make mashed potatoes like my grandmother used to make, adding just a splash of milk, a pat of butter, and some salt and pepper to season this fluffy potato goodness. These are the very same mashed potatoes that has produced this gem of a Dad-ism from my daddy: “You can’t beat good mashed potatoes–it’s like eating candy!”

I like making mashed potatoes because I like to use the leftovers to make mashed potato pancakes. Similar concept as latkes, except the potatoes are, well, mashed. Today I flavored mine with some dried oregano and a bit of parmesan cheese and served them sandwiched between some garlicky kale and slices of breakfast ham for a super-quick, amped up dinner.

The breakfast ham is something I bought at the store. It’s precooked and I just fried it up quickly in the cast iron skillet (you could use leftover baked ham or even country ham). But I will tell you how to make the kale that earned this sandwich a Yum Factor of 7s across the board. (That “sauce” is some honey mustard I shmeared onto the plate).

For mashed potato pancake recipe, click here, and add a small handful of finely grated parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano, if desired.

Garlicky Kale (inspired by an entry on cabbage in Niki Segnit’s The Flavor Thesaurus)

– large handful of kale, excess stems removed
1. Bring a medium pot of water almost to a boil. Add the kale leaves and cook until bright green and softened, about 8 minutes.

2. Drain and rinse under cool water. Squeeze out excess water and chop roughly.

– 5 small garlic cloves, chopped
– 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– small grating of fresh nutmeg
3. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and sautee quickly. Add the chopped kale and stir. Add the red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes, then keep warm until ready to serve.

Note to self: If/when I have a child who needs to make some sort of diorama project for a science biome project, I will advise him/her to use kale for shrubbery.

Garlic and kale go beautifully together. Kale and ham go beautifully together. This is a quick and beautiful meal that can be created entirely from leftovers if leftovers is what you find yourself with in the fridge. But I won’t blame you if you’re like me and make mashed potatoes for the express purpose of making mashed potato pancakes the next day.

Do you have any other creative ideas for mashed potatoes? What makes mashed potatoes “candy” for you–artisanal cheeses? Herbs? Other veggies? Do tell!

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