Monday, September 12, 2011

Potato Cakes with Jarlsberg Cheese and Rough Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Cakes with Jarlsberg Cheese & Rough Mustard Vinaigrette

As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

Serves 6 to 8

These warm potato cakes are crispy on the outside with a creamy center. They are so good as a luncheon dish along with a salad, cup of broth based soup, or as a hearty appetizer. The green bean & vinaigrette garnish is optional and If you skip the vinaigrette - green bean garnish they become a fine side dish for any roasted or grilled meat or poultry.

Tip: If using, prepare the green beans and make the vinaigrette first, then set aside (or refrigerate) until you're ready to make the potato cakes.

Potato Cake ingredients:
About 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (6 to 8), scrubbed well
1 or 2 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (or 2 Tablespoons snipped chives)
3/4 cups grated Jarlsberg, Swiss or Emmentaler cheese
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
Oil and butter for frying (1:1 portions)

Optional Vinaigrette and Haricot Vert/Green Bean garnish:
Generous handful of slender green beans
2 Tablespoons grainy whole seed mustard (Dijon-type)
2 to 3 teaspoons mild vinegar (Sherry, Champagne or unseasoned rice vinegar)
1 to 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the potato cakes:
Preheat oven to 375˚F Using a fork, prick potatoes all over with a fork and bake directly on oven rack for about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork. You can peel the potatoes if you prefer (peel them while they are still hot). With an electric stand mixer (using paddle attachment) beat on low speed, or you may use a potato masher to break them up well. Add the scallions/chives, cheese, sour cream, salt, black and cayenne pepper, and butter, mix by machine or hand until completely combined. Loosely cover and allow mixture to cool.
To form and cook the cakes: Scoop out 1/2 cup portions and with wet hands shape them into patties about 3/4 to 1-inch thick and about 3 to 3 1/2-inches in diameter. Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium high heat and spread with out. Non-stick pan works very well for this. Cook until golden brown, turn and cook until the second side is nicely browned. (About 5 to 7 minutes for each side, depending upon how thick the patties are and the temperature of your pan.) It's better to cook them longer and slower in order to heat them though and so they have a chance to gain a nice crisp outside crust.

Optional: Rough Mustard Vinaigrette and blanched green bean garnish.
In a small bowl whisk together the grainy mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in 2 to 3 teaspoons of good olive oil. If dressing is too thick add a few dribbles of cold water to attain desired consistency. Add freshly ground black pepper and whisk again. Taste for seasonings and adjust.

For the green beans; tip and tail a large handful of slender, fresh green beans or Haricot Verts, cut beans cross-wise into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. Bring a medium size (2 to 3 quart) pot of water to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt, carefully drop the green beans into the boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to blanch. Immediately scoop the beans out and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

To assemble: Place potato cakes on plate, sprinkle beans around the perimeter, drizzle beans with the mustard vinaigrette. In order to maintain crispness of potato try to keep the vinaigrette away, allowing each diner to dip potato into the vinaigrette themselves. Shower a sprinkle of snipped chives or sliced scallion over the potatoes and serve while potatoes are still warm.

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