Spring Onion and Cheese Potato Cake, Two Ways

Merced Sun-Star - - Community -

Yield: 6 to 8 serv­ings To­tal time: 1 1⁄2 hours

For the potato cake:

6 large red bliss pota­toes (about 2 3⁄4 pounds), scrubbed clean

1⁄2 cup plus 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil

16 spring onions or

2 large bunches scal­lions (about 7 ounces), trimmed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

6 gar­lic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced Kosher salt and black pep­per

2⁄3 cup heavy cream

3 large eggs plus

1 yolk, beaten

3 ounces Parme­san, finely grated

3 ta­ble­spoons finely chopped pre­served lemon or 1 ta­ble­spoon fresh lemon zest

1 tea­spoon ground turmeric

5 ounces ma­ture Ched­dar, roughly grated

7 ounces feta (prefer­ably Greek), roughly crum­bled For the pea and thyme fill­ing:

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 ta­ble­spoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few ex­tra sprigs to gar­nish For the red pep­per and harissa fill­ing: 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red pep­pers, drained, pat­ted dry and roughly chopped (about 8 ounces)

1 ⁄2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 ta­ble­spoon for gar­nish

3 ta­ble­spoons harissa paste or 1 tea­spoon red-pep­per flakes

Add the pota­toes to a large pot and top with enough wa­ter to cover by about 1 1⁄2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then lower the heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook un­til eas­ily pierced with a knife, about 30 min­utes. Drain well. Once cool enough to han­dle, peel the pota­toes (sav­ing the skins for another use), and trans­fer them to a large bowl.

While the pota­toes are cook­ing, add half the olive oil to a large (12-inch) cast-iron skil­let or an oven­proof skil­let that is at least about 3 inches deep. Heat over medium. Once hot, add the spring onions and gar­lic and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til soft and lightly col­ored, about 6 min­utes. If mak­ing with peas, add the peas and thyme; if mak­ing with pep­pers, add the pep­pers,1cilantro and harissa. Add ⁄2 tea­spoon salt and plenty of pep­per, stir to com­bine and set aside.

Heat the oven to 450 de­grees.

Add the cream, eggs and yolk, Parme­san, pre­served lemon, turmeric, half the Ched­dar and 1⁄2 tea­spoon salt to the pota­toes in the large bowl. Use a potato masher to break ev­ery­thing down to a rough mash that is still a bit lumpy. Add the feta and the spring onion mix­ture and fold ev­ery­thing to­gether.

Wipe the skil­let clean, add the re­main­ing olive oil, then trans­fer the skil­let to the oven for about 5 min­utes to heat up. Re­move from the oven and care­fully add the potato mix. Level the top, sprin­kle with the re­main­ing Ched­dar and a few sprigs of thyme, if us­ing, in the cen­ter and re­turn to the oven.

Re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 400 de­grees and bake the cake un­til golden and bub­bling, 25 to 30 min­utes. Re­move from the oven and set aside for 15 to 20 min­utes to firm up be­fore serv­ing. Sprin­kle with the ex­tra cilantro, and serve warm, spooned di­rectly from the pan.

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