Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Potato Cake--From Three Potatoes

Spring came to Washington DC for a brief moment and left again. It seems like it is going to stay with us forever and a snowy rain has been falling from the sky today. I had no choice but to apologize to the potatoes in my refrigerator with whom I was so arrogant the other day. This cold weather makes me still want to eat warm comfort warm food rather than cold crispy salads. And I know that if by any chance warm days will arrive this spring, I will never have an opportunity to use these huge baking potatoes I bought some time ago.

I decided to use all of them and make a potato cake. This is one of those dishes that can unite my whole family at the table. Everyone likes it without any reservations as it is totally vegetarian and very satisfying as many potato dishes are. I am sure it could be delicious as well with some fried bacon inside, but my son would not participate in such a feast. There is a similar dish in Polish cuisine, and we serve it with a meat sauce, Hungarian style.

The beauty of that dish is that it can be made whenever we open a refrigerator asking ourselves "What do we have here? Oh, nothing, just three potatoes". But despite that sad discovery an hour later we can enjoy a nice dinner.

This cake can be made on a frying pan, but that would require more experience, especially when it comes to flipping it upside down. Baking it in an oven could be less messy. Another reason for using an oven would be the smell. I noticed that, no matter how hard my kitchen hood vent is working, the smell of any oil-fried dishes, especially potatoes, beef, and fish is always felt even in the most remote corners of my house. Somehow this is much less of a problem when I prepare these meals in an oven.

As you will see it is a very plain recipe but what makes this dish taste great is a ground nutmeg added to the cake and the spicy yogurt sauce that is put on top. I also like to serve it with with a lettuce salad, drizzled with vinegar dressing.

Potato Cake
(Serves four; should be made in a 10" form)

3 large baking potatoes(about 2 pounds,)
1 medium onion, chopped,
2 eggs, beaten,
2 tbsp flour,
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black ground pepper,
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg,
1 tbsp olive oil.

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Peel off potatoes and grate them on a large hole grater. Put potatoes in a medium bowl squeezing excess juice.
3. Add onion, eggs, flour, and spices, and mix well.
4. Pour oil in a baking pan and spread it all over it. Transfer the potato mixture to a pan and spread it evenly.

5. Bake for an hour or until the top of the cake becomes dark gold.

Cut into four pieces and serve with yogurt sauce on top.

Yogurt sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt,
2 garlic cloves minced,
1/4 cup chopped chives,
salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all the ingredients and serve in a separate bowl to accompany the potato cake.