Mashed Potato Cakes with Sauteed Leeks

It’s more of a winter dish, for sure, but on a coolish Saturday night with grilled ham steak and a fresh arugula and summer tomato salad, it hit the spot – especially when the mashed potatoes were left over.  Sauteing the leeks first and laying the potato cakes on them eliminated the possibility of over browning the onions while browning the cakes and also allowed the non-onion eaters to avoid them. 

  • 3 cups mashed red potatoes*
  • 2-3 medium leeks, white and light green parts trimmed and washed and thinly slice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup flour, for dredging
  • kosher or sea salt
  • black pepper (optional)
  • olive oil
  • unsalted butter

Bring the mashed potatoes to room temperature so they will form cakes more easily.  Put the flour on a plate or piece of waxed paper.  Form the potatoes into small cakes about three inches in diameter (the photo is deceptive – my hands are very small) and dredge them in the flour, shaking off an excess.  Once you have made all the cakes season with the salt and pepper and set aside. 

Heat a large enameled cast iron pan to medium and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and one Tablespoon of butter.  add the garlic and saute for one minute, then add the leeks and cook until they are cooked but now brown, 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove to a warm serving platter and wipe out the pan before rewarming it.  Once it is back up to medium heat, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and one of butter, making sure the bottom of the pan is covered before placing the potato cakes in to brown.  Mange the heat and check the cakes often until they form a brown crust before turning them – careful, if you press down on the with the spatula they may fall apart (they will still taste good, though).  Once turned they will brown more quickly on the other side.  Remove them and place them on top of the leeks in the warm serving dish.

*The mashed potatoes I used here were red potatoes (not creamers) boiled and fork-mashed with a mixture of butter, kosher salt and heavy cream that was reduced by half on the stove.

Served with grilled ham steak and an arugula, tomato and goat cheese salad with Stonewall Kitchens Balsamic Fig Dressing.