This recipe combines two very traditional Irish foods, potato cakes and smoked salmon, to create an elegant and easy first course or brunch dish. It’s a nice way to use up extra mashed potatoes and smoked salmon leftover from holiday meals and would be a lovely addition to a New Year’s brunch with a mimosa. I find it works best with moist mashed potatoes that are made with butter and cream or milk.
Potato cakes, also known as fadge in Northern Ireland, are more typically served along with “the full Irish” breakfast and are delicious, if not heart healthy, when reheated by frying in bacon fat. I have fond childhood memories of my Uncle Jim making potato cakes for us on Sunday mornings, slathered with lots of butter.
My friend Anne suggested an alternative version to this dish for a quick, impressive appetizer for unexpected New Year’s guests. Substitute good quality– such as olive oil — potato chips for the potato cakes and place the smoked salmon, creme fraiche and chives on top of each chip.
Mini Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon
- 2 cups mashed potatoes (mashed potatoes made with butter and cream or milk work best)
- 2 tbsps. melted butter plus 2 tbsps. for frying
- 4 tbsps. flour
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsps. chopped fresh chives plus 2 tbsps. chopped chives for garnish
- 4 oz. smoked Atlantic salmon
- 1/2 lemon
- 5 tsps. creme fraiche
- Add 2 tbsps. melted butter to the mashed potatoes in a medium bowl.
- Stir in the flour, salt and 3 tbsps. of chopped chives.
- Turn out onto a floured board.
- Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness as if rolling pastry and, using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut into rounds.
- Melt 2 tbsps. butter in a cast iron or heavy pan or griddle.
- Add the potato cakes to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- While the cakes are frying, cut the smoked salmon into 1 inch pieces and form into rosettes. Set aside.
- Remove the potato cakes from the pan onto serving plate. Place 1/2 tsp. of creme fraiche on each cake. Arrange the salmon rosettes on each cake. Squeeze lemon juice onto each salmon rosette. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve.
Using a fluted biscuit cutter will result in a prettier potato cake.
A few people who stopped by Chicago’s Irish Christmas Market http://montrosegreen.com/irish_christmas_market last weekend asked whether the Irish brown and white bread is frozen. Although the customers may have been frozen, the bread was not. However, it freezes very well if you want to buy a loaf or two or a few scones to eat over Christmas. The bread and scones are all freshly baked. The brown bread is made with organic stoneground whole wheat flour and the scones are made with organic eggs. The scone packets include a plain sweet scone, a golden raisin (sultana) scone and an orange and cranberry scone.
Here are tips on storing Irish bread and scones:
The bread is wrapped in plastic because it is being sold at an outdoor market.I recommend removing the plastic when you get home and storing the bread in a paper bag. The scones will be alright in the cellophane storage bags. If you want to save the bread or scones to eat later, freeze them in freezer storage bags. Before eating, let them defrost at room temperature. To refresh the scones, place them in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.
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Thanks to everyone who braved the cold and snowy weather this weekend to visit the Irish Christmas Market in Ravenswood. I’m especially grateful to those of you who bought my bread and scones. This was my first attempt at selling my baked goods at a market. I’m happy to report that it was successful and I hope to bake more for next weekend’s market.
A new Irish Christmas market debuts this weekend in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago — which also happens to be my neighborhood. The man behind the concept is former banker Eamon Byrne who relocated to Chicago last summer from the lovely and historic city of Kilkenny to join his fiance Bridget.
The market will feature Irish gifts, food and music. My Irish brown bread made with organic, stoneground whole wheat flour (pictured on the front page of this blog) as well as soda bread, scones and Irish apple cake will be available at the bakery stall. Quantities are limited, so get there early. Other vendors are Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Bistro, Begyle Brewing and Himmel’s European Bistro.
The market will be open 11 a,m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through December 22 at Montrose Green, 1819 W. Montrose Avenue, next to the Montrose stop on the Brown Line.
For more information, go to montrosegreen.com or visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/IrishChristmasMarket.