Potato, Kale and Bacon Cakes with Ume Shallot Aioli
The potato. So mundane, humble and beige. Except for purple potatoes. Oh, and sweet potatoes. So not always beige. But still, a rather unassuming tuber. And yet it is the backbone of many kitchens.
Everyone has their favourite way of preparing potatoes. Jim loves mashed potatoes. Doesn’t every guy?! But while mashed is probably the ultimate way to serve potatoes, there are a cornucopia of options. Scalloped, roasted, hashed, riced, baked, roesti, fried, frittata’d, and even boiled. They are the basis of most forms of comfort food, amiright!?
Today I’m reminding us all of yet another way to prepare potatoes. Cakes. They look like crab cakes. Without the crab. Or any fish for that matter. Making these up is as fun as serving and eating them. They can make the perfect lunch or dinner, or even a fun appetizer. A platter of these, served with the aioli that I’m including, makes for a fabulous hors d’oeuvre. And while I’m raving about how yummy these are, I might as well say, I love using Yukon Gold potatoes. They are just so versatile. Their colour is a lovely buttery yellow, and the hold up well to pretty well anything you do to them. They’re pretty well the only potato in my pantry, unless I’m planning on baking some potatoes.
These little cakes are filled with some extra punch. Chopped kale and minced red onion are some colourful veggies. Bacon adds flavour and well, it’s bacon! Cheddar cheese and some kicky seasonings, and this is a flavour packed dish. Forming them and then rolling them in flour, egg and finally panko creates the perfect crust that stays crunchy after some sautéing.
The dipping sauce is almost as important as the the cake. This one has some wonderful salty heat from Entube’s Umeboshi paste, paprika and pepper, as well as finely minced shallot. A bowl of this dip and a plate of potato cakes is a fun snack. But serving these cakes with smoked salmon and a salad, and it suddenly becomes a fancy brunch, with the aioli becoming the perfect garnish on the salmon. The crunch from the panko is brilliant.
Use your imagination. Roll the cakes to a more traditional 2 1/2 inch in diameter size, and two will satisfy most eaters. Make smaller cakes, and they become a fun snack, a two bite nibble. Kids will love the smaller version. Everything mini is just more fun, right?! This batch will make about 12 medium sized cakes. Or you’ll get 24 if you make them mini. The great thing about them is, if you know you won’t be eating them all right away, just freeze the unused before you roll them in the egg and panko. Then when you’re in the mood, pull them out and thaw, coat and sauté away.
So yes, potatoes can be humble or fancy. As can this dish. It can be fun for kids to snack on, or become an elegant shower or dinner party first course. Sunday brunch, here you go!
Potato, Kale and Bacon Cakes with Umeboshi and Shallot Aioli
Crispy potato cakes, filled with kale, bacon, cheddar and spices and coated with a fabulous crispy panko crust, these are perfect for brunch, as an appetizer, or even an evening snack. The spicy aioli dipping sauce is the perfect side.
- 1/2 cup avocado mayonaise or perhaps an olive oil mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Entube Umeboshi paste
- 1 medium to large shallot, minced you should have about 1/4 cup or a bit more
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1.5kg) cut into eighths
- 1 cup packed chopped kale
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 4 strips of bacon cut into small lardons
- 1 cup packed cheddar cheese or gouda or gruyere
- kosher salt and cracked pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 egg
- 3/4 cup AP flour
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- olive oil enough to completely coat the bottom of your sauté pan and a bit extra
Umeboshi and Shallot Aioli:
Mix the mayo through the cracked pepper till well combined. Add the lemon juice and mix till smooth. Set in the fridge till needed.
Prepare the potatoes:
Place the potatoes in a medium sauce pan and cover with water and a good couple pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium.
Just before they get to just soft enough to spear with a knife, add the chopped kale to the pot.
Simmer another two minutes (about 15 minutes total) Drain. Place the potatoes and kale in a large bowl and mash coarsely with a potato masher or fork. You don't need to get these too fine- it's nice to have pieces of potato throughout the cake.
While the potatoes are simmering, saute the bacon lardons until just crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Add the bacon, onions, cheddar cheese, smoked paprika, a good pinch each of kosher salt and cracked pepper and one egg, slightly beaten to the potatoes and kale in the bowl.
Mix till well combined.
Bring your oven to a warming temperature (probably the lowest setting will be good) Set a baking sheet on the middle rack.
Lay out the flour in a shallow pan. I use a pie plate. Season with some salt and pepper.
Take the remaining egg and place in a shallow pan or pie plate. Add a touch of water and beat lightly.
Add the panko to a third shallow pan or pie plate. Spread out well.
Form the potato mixture into medium balls that when squashed lightly will be around 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2-3/4 inch thick. I do this by roughly dividing the mixture in half with my hand. Then I divide each half into halves. Etc until you get the 12 mounds you need to form into patties.
Or alternatively, you can make them smaller, making them more bite sized (great for a utensil free appetizer!)
Have a large sauté pan on medium high heat ready. Add the olive oil. There should be enough oil to completely cover the base of the pan with about 1/8 inch of oil.
Take each potato cake and first coat in flour. Shake off any excess. Dip into the egg mixture to evenly coat, allow excess to drip off. Place into the panko crumbs and coat well, pressing well with your fingers.
Place into the heated oil. Add more cakes to fill the pan comfortably. Cook on one side about 3 minutes (check after two) till nicely browned. Turn over and cook the other side. You aren't worried about cooking anything, just crisping the outside and heating the inside.
Once both sides are nicely browned, place them onto the warmed baking sheet and return to the oven as you continue with the rest of the potato cakes.
Once all the cakes are finished they can remain in the oven while you get the aioli out of the fridge and ready for serving.
Serve on a platter with the aioli in a small dipping bowl.
You can prepare all the cakes up until the coating in flour, egg and panko. If you know you won't use them all initially, then place the ones you won't use onto a parchment lined baking sheet and place into the freezer. Once frozen, you can move them into a freezer bag till you're ready to prepare them. Once you want to sauté them up, just thaw, pat with a paper towel and then coat and proceed with cooking.
This recipe should make up at least 12 regular sized cakes, enough for 4-6 people, depending on appetites and how you are serving them.
If you make them slightly smaller, they make a fabulous appetizer or party dish.