When you move away from home, it doesn’t take long for memories to become more precious. I learned this fact in college–after I was married and living in Berea–that I wasn’t going to be able to cruise back any time I wanted. I couldn’t see the old wooden bridge over the river I used to play in, and spending time with my family was something that would happen for a few hours every three or four months.
This past week, I was so touched by the outpouring of good greetings and well wishes from so many people from home. My high school home economics teacher featured The Country Contessa and my recipes in her food column of my hometown newspaper, The News Enterprise. I had no idea how large that write up was going to be.
When she said “column” I actually thought it was a column. Turns out it was about 8 columns.
I admit I’m a little bit embarrassed at the attention, but it has been so nice to hear from people from my past and gain new readers of this blog–very special people who have known me just about all of my life. I just want to say thank you for supporting me and being a part of such great memories.
Now let’s make potato cakes. (You’ll see pretty quickly that I have absolutely no transition to my recipes from my rambling.)
About this recipe
My first batch of potato cakes were terrible. I tried a few different concoctions and they were bad. Bland and flavorless.
Once I did get it right, I hesitated to share this version because I think most country cooks know how to make a potato cake. They come plain–just mashed potatoes, flour, and egg–the way my husband grew up on them, or “loaded” and “smothered” if you want to go all out with cheese and sour cream.
It’s up to you.
BUT, you need to start with good mashed potatoes. I guess my recipe might be closer to a “loaded” version because I put sour cream in my mashed potatoes normally. I think for the best outcome on these, you need to use well-seasoned, well-flavored left over mashed potatoes. If they’re not, you’ll need to adjust the salt in this recipe and maybe throw in a dash of sour cream for richness to get them like the recipe. I used green onions because I liked the color, but feel free to use a finely chopped white onion if you prefer those or already have them on hand.
You can make these ahead and refrigerate them, and then stick them in the oven on a cookie sheet to rewarm and crisp if you are pinched for time.
- 2 1/2 cups well-seasoned chilled mashed potatoes
- 6 Tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 5 Tablespoons canola oil for frying
Mix the potatoes, onions, flour, egg, salt, pepper and milk in a medium bowl.
The mixture should be thick enough to cling to a spoon but sag just a bit when you hold a spoonful up in the air.
If it's too thin, add some more flour. Too stiff, add some more milk.
Heat the oil over medium until it just starts to shimmer--about 5 minutes or so.
Place heaping tablespoons of potatoes in the skillet and spread them with the back of your spoon.
Cook until golden on each side--about 5 minutes per side.
Serve warm or cool to room temperature and refrigerate for later.