Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Potato & Onion Cakes

I'm always on the lookout for a new and different side vegetable. One that isn't too difficult, but is attractive looking (for a company meal) and tastes good. This recipe was one from "the stack" I've talked about recently, of recipes I needed to file. It seemed like it would fit well with the grilled dinner we did about a week ago. There were a couple of different techniques in this recipe (using grated potatoes in a muffin tin) and gently smushing a red onion slice into the bottom beforehand.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart Living, November, 2006. It's not difficult, but does take a bit of fussing just before baking it. I got all the ingredients out, measured out what I'd need and had everything mis en place (ingredients in place, on a tray with everything I'd need) before I started. This must be constructed just before putting it in the oven because potatoes don't keep once they're grated. But I did what I could prior to that.
Ideally you need a 6-place large muffin tin. (You could use individual ramekins, no problem.) And since I don't bake muffins all that often, I was happy to find another use for the tin! First you butter the tin, sprinkle each cup with salt, pepper and a bit of brown sugar (all in the bottom). Then you drizzle a tiny bit of balsamic and red wine vinegars in the bottom of each cup, and artfully arrange a sprig of fresh rosemary across the bottom. Thin slices of red onion go in the bottom next (hopefully just the size of the bottom of the cup), then you grate the potatoes (quick work in the food processor) and toss with salt and pepper, and an egg yolk. Those are pressed firmly into the cup and you dot the top with a bit of butter. Bake for 30 minutes and you're done. You slide a knife around the edges and lift them out. Or, you could invert the whole pan. But I was concerned they wouldn't come out cleanly, so did them individually. I had to try several utensils before I found the right one. Very quickly place them on a HOT plate. They cool off quickly because they're kind of airy (the grated potato) so be ready to sit down to eat or serve them immediately. I'd make these again, just because they're pretty, and went well with a grilled dinner. These weren't a "wow" dish, but they were very good, and making some changes (see next paragraph) might make them "wow."
Cook's Notes: taste the potato mixture for salt and pepper before you pile them into the cups. Even though raw potatoes don't taste all that great, you want them to be seasoned right, and there's no way to do it otherwise. Try to arrange the onion slice "just so" in the bottom, so it looks pretty when you turn it out to serve. Next time I decided I'd add some Parmesan cheese to the potato mixture. And I'd mince up any remaining red onion and toss that in with the potatoes. Pack down the potatoes firmly, otherwise it breaks apart when you try to invert it. And lastly, I might try putting two slices of onion in the bottom if I could. You could also use frozen potatoes for this if you were so inclined.

Potato and Onion Cakes
Recipe By : Martha Stewart Living
Serving Size : 6
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary -- plus 6 sprigs for ramekins
1 small red onion -- sliced into six 1/4" rounds
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes -- grated
1 egg yolk -- slightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Generously butter a large (six 1-cup) muffin tins. Sprinkle in the bottom of each cup salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar; drizzle each cup with 1/2 teaspoon of each vinegar. Place a rosemary sprig in each cup, then cover with an onion round. Can be made ahead to this point, about 2 hours before baking.
3. Shred potatoes in food processor, if possible, then toss with the chopped rosemary and the egg yolk in a medium bowl. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper to taste. Divide the potatoes amongst the cups, then dot with butter.
4. Bake until potatoes are tender and well browned, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each cup to loosen, invert onto a hot plate and serve.
5. Could be made an hour or so before serving, then reheat in a 300 oven.
Per Serving: 107 Calories; 5g Fat (39.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 46mg Cholesterol; 672mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
Printer-friendly recipe, click title at top.

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