I love the spud. I love it, I love it, love it, love it! How I love the Irish spud especially.
Now, when I say this, people look perplexed. A potato is a potato, right? Not so my friends. I miss the fluffy Irish potato, boiled until just at the point of bursting its jacket or roasted until fluffy inside in a bold crisp crusted suit. A friend used to call them laughing potatoes, as they looked like they were laughing their heads off. I remember a large metal tray covered in jostling laughing potatoes at the centre of my grandmother’s table. A little butter – maybe a lot – placed on top and left to ooze, and that was all I wanted to eat. Literally, I refused to eat anything else for a time in my childhood.
I especially miss the potatoes that grew in the field in front of my house, and the new season potatoes that would proudly be displayed outside shops when the season started. Before seasonality was a trend, when it was just the way things were. Ballinacourty new potatoes were something to be proud of. The humble spud has terroir too and Irish ones – especially my local Ballinacourty ones – are just so much better.
So much so that I do mad things, like pay €20 to check a bag in on a flight home. The bag has nothing in there save 10kg of potatoes. 10kg potatoes and weeks of joyous dinners. Weeks of fun as my bag of spuds slowly depletes.
Taking my obsession thus far, it will come as no surprise that I had some Irish potatoes sent over last week for Paddy’s Day. From Keogh’s Farm precisely. They asked which ones I wanted. All food knowledge escaped my head immediately to be replaced by enthusiasm and joy and I burst out – your fluffiest ones please! And so I got them.
Big, bolshy, pink Golden Wonders. Thick dusty pink jackets, creamy fluffy flesh. I have been busy cooking with them since. Today, I share with you my potato and kale cake recipe: enjoy it.
One thing I will suggest to you, if you haven’t one already, is to invest in a potato ricer. With one of these you will get the best mash, will be able to make gorgeous light mash, gnocchi and anything else that requires light fluffy potato. They are cheap so no excuses, haven’t you ordered one yet?
Potato & Kale Cakes
500g potato (I used fluffy golden wonders, maris pipers would be good too)
100g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
handful of kale: blanched in hot water for 2 minutes, squeezed to get rid of excess water, and chopped
tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of light oil
Boil the potatoes until just tender. You should be able to stick a knife through them.
Drain and mash until fluffy or pass through a potato ricer. Spread out flat in a large dish or tray, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and sift the flour over it. Add the two lightly beaten eggs and kale and bring together with a fork gently, until you get a dough. This is much easier to achieve with a ricer.
Shape into cakes – approximately 4 – but this will depend on how big you want them.
Fry over a medium heat in the butter and oil for abot 3/4 minutes on each side until cooked through and crisp outside.
Serve hot with whatever you fancy, I had mine with bacon and eggs.