I’m not sure what I was thinking the other night when I made dinner. I made enough mashed potatoes for an army, or at least for another family, or two. While I was mashing them, before we had even sat down to eat them, I was already trying to figure out what I would do with the leftovers. Not sure what that says about me, but I’ll go with frugal.
My mom sometimes made mashed potato cakes when we had enough potatoes left over. She didn’t do it often, but they were always good. We didn’t usually have enough to make many, usually enough to have one or two each, with other leftovers for lunch, or with eggs for breakfast. Mom liked hers with maple syrup, which I always thought was a little weird. Her mother made mashed potato cakes for breakfast when she was a girl and served them with syrup. Who am I to argue with Mom’s tastes of childhood?
We had so many mashed potatoes that I decided to make potato cakes as a side dish to go with fish for dinner the next night. Cheese goes well with potatoes, so I threw some of that in, along with an egg to hold it all together. You can certainly leave the cheese out, or use more than I did. And you will have to adjust the seasonings to your tastes. Our potatoes weren’t very salty to begin with, so I added a little salt. If I had had some on hand, I would have mixed in roasted garlic. I used just a touch of garlic powder instead, since the short cooking time wouldn’t have worked well with chopped raw garlic. Fresh herbs would have been marvelous, but I didn’t have any, so we did without.
Just a little butter on the griddle and our potato cakes fried up golden brown and crispy, with soft, cheesy centers. Calvin couldn’t stop talking about how much he liked them. And it was a good thing, since we had enough left over for several lunches, even after having them for dinner. Did I mention I had made a lot of potatoes?
Note: I had enough potatoes to make a double batch of the potato cakes, which made almost twenty. I am giving you a recipe for half that, since most normal people don’t have four cups of mashed potatoes left over – except maybe at Thanksgiving. If you do find yourself with lots of mashed potatoes, just double all the ingredients in the recipe and start frying.
Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes
From The Cook’s Life
Serves 4-6 (8-12 potato cakes, depending on size)
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
½-¾ cup grated cheddar cheese (I used white cheddar, any cheese will work)
⅛-¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and lightly grease a large baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper. This is to keep the first batch of potato cakes hot while you cook the second batch. If you have a griddle large enough, you can cook them all at once and skip the oven.
Melt butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. While pan is heating, mix egg, mashed potatoes, cheese, salt, garlic powder and black pepper together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon small amounts of mashed potato mixture into the hot pan, flattening them with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Use a little less than a quarter cup of the mixture per cake. Or make them smaller. Don’t make them bigger or they will be too hard to turn.
Cook 3-4 minutes, or until first side is golden brown. Carefully turn mashed potato cakes over and brown the other side, another 3-4 minutes. The cakes are fragile – use care when turning them.
Remove the potato cakes to the prepared baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while you cook the second batch.
Serve the mashed potato cakes hot. Leftovers reheat well in a lightly greased skillet.