Potato and Kale Cakes with Rouille

I have been struggling with this mixed blessings this Winter.  Here in Philadelphia, we are having a very mild Winter, mild enough to fool the plants and animals (I’m seeing daffodils and crocus shoots surfacing from the ground, some flowers blooming and trees raining down pollen.  Birds are not migrating to the South and I’m waking up to birds chirping in the morning).   Thinking of our past 3 Winters with ice and multiple snowstorms I am loving this Winter, however, along with the mildness comes early allergy with these pollens floating around!!  Sneezing and constant nose blowing, sigh… 

As much as I like to cook and try out different recipes, I have to be honest and say that it’s difficult being a mom who has to cook almost daily and try to be creative.   Especially feeling bogged down from this early allergy symptoms.  Sometimes I really do envy my single friends who get to eat out at different restaurants or my rich acquaintances who can hire personal chefs.  Then I always come to this conclusion that I will get tired of eating out often, and since I’m such a control freak I will not be able to have another person cook for me or cook in my kitchen!!  Yup, we’ll talk about my analness another time, because it’s quite scary.  

Anyway, last night’s dinner was another one of those recipes I had in my “must try” folder.  I guess it was a bit time consuming, but if you’re used to cooking it shouldn’t be bad at all.  I love potato and love kale so this recipe spoke to me, in fact I was helping my friend organize her recipe pile and found this recipe, and it’s from one of my favorite site Epicurious

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Yields about 12 cakes:

Rouille:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Cakes:

  • 1 1/2 pounds unpeeled russet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound kale, center rib and stem cut from each leaf, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For rouille:
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Season rouille to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

For cakes:
Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; return potatoes to same saucepan. Add milk and butter. Mash potatoes (with peel) until smooth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 3 cups mashed potatoes to large bowl and cool (reserve remaining potatoes for another use).
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add kale and thyme. Toss until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Add kale mixture, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg to potatoes; blend. Cool potato mixture 30 minutes.

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Shape potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

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Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cakes and cook, without moving, until cakes are brown and crispy on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over. Cook until brown on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to plates. Top each cake with dollop of rouille.

My opinion:

This hit the jackpot, because everyone really enjoyed this!!  As I was eating this cake I started thinking about adding some Indian spices next time (so that it’ll turn into samosa cake).  Rouille isn’t your traditional rouille, but it was good with the cakes (although I seriously had a doubt when I tasted the rouille by itself, amazingly, it went really well with the cakes). 

I did add a little more kale & onion into this recipe.  Next time, I will add less salt (if you like salty maybe it’ll be okay, but we shouldn’t be consuming much salt anyway).   Since it’s a bit time consuming I boiled extra potatoes so that I can make gnocchi (hey, why not?).   All in all I’m very satisfied with this recipe – great way to get in leafy greens into your children’s diet (and my children kept on going back for more!). 

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