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.
- 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.