POTATO CAKES - proper old Cornish fare!
There are so many examples for these little gems and after much studying of my 1920s Cornish recipe book I was still none the wiser! Some recommend baking in the oven while others suggest using a griddle or pan - one even says you can use a biscuit tin lid over the open fire!!! But after several efforts I can emphatically tell you they are best when done in a pan or griddle. Trust me!
It is amazing how a few ingredients can have so many methods! So I am plumping for the most obvious - to me anyway. The flour and fat should be rubbed together, [like shortcrust] before adding to the potato, you are making a “cake”, after all.
6 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, then mashed with a little milk or preferably buttermilk.
Season. By now you must know my preference for Sea Salt flakes [Kosher salt] and freshly ground pepper. [I always use a mix of black, red, green and white]
6 oz plain flour
3 oz butter
Seasoning, as above.
Allow the mashed potato to cool completely. While that is happening, rub the fat into the flour, then add some finely chopped parsley if you wish.
“Modern me now adds, that a touch of fresh grated Parmesan would be great too!!”
I love herbs!! And so did our forebears. So I am sure they would often have added parsley, maybe even thyme or chives. Bring everything together, by adding the flour to the mash, then combining the both. Gently roll to about between ¼ and ½ inch thick, on a lightly floured surface, then using a cutter “make” the cakes. I used a 3 inch, plain cutter and this quantity made 12 cakes. After cutting out the first batch, re roll the potato mix and cut once more. Use a slice to lift them from the surface to the fry pan as they will be a little soft.
Heat a large pan with half oil and butter. Then start cooking the cakes. The pan needs to be hot. I reckon the cakes take about 6 or 7 min each side but turn the heat down if they are too brown. How did they manage this on a biscuit tin lid?
They freeze so well. When they are cold, place on a flat tray to freeze, then, separately, bag them up. Reheat in a medium oven for a 10 - 15 mins. They are so versatile and so tasty.