Archive for the ‘Potatoes, etc.’ Category

Memo to the restaurateurs of America:  Please add this dish to your brunch menus, effective immediately.  After all, brunch is one of the greatest things about this country, right next to baseball, bourbon and the blues, and everyone should be able to partake of this venerable tradition of beginning breakfast in the afternoon and drinking champagne during the first meal of the day.  However, brunch can be a difficult meal for vegetarians, especially ones who aren’t fond of eggs:  These restrictions tend to eliminate 95% of brunch dishes.  Sure, there are always pancakes, but what if you’re in the mood for something savory?  And what if, God forbid, you actually want some vegetables in your meal?

I could call this dish “glorified hash browns”; Anya von Brezmen, whose The New Spanish Table was the inspiration for this recipe, calls it trinxat de la Cerdanya, which I don’t think is going to appear on my local IHOP’s menu any time soon.  She translates this as “Pyrenean potato and kale cake” since, according to her, it is a specialty of “a section of the Catalan Pyrenees where Barcelonans escape to breathe mountain air, pick wild mushrooms, or just lose themselves rambling on the back roads among wild goats and ramshackle Romanesque churches.”  I would tell you that eating trinxat will make you feel as if you are standing amidst ramshackle Romanesque goats, but I try to keep the outlandish claims on this blog to a minimum.

I can promise that it is delicious any time of day, and I imagine you could swap out the kale for spinach, chard or any other leafy green; you could also probably replace the greens with firmer vegetables, like broccoli or asparagus.  Like hash browns, this dish goes well with cheddar cheese melted on top, sauteed mushrooms, poached eggs, bacon, kielbasa or anything else that you’re moved to eat with it.

Because it seems I can’t refrain from putting quinoa into everything, I added half a cup of cooked quinoa to the potatoes to add some whole grain goodness as well as some textural and visual contrast.  The combination of potatoes and quinoa seems very Andean to me, so I thought about calling this “Pyrenean-Peruvian Potato Pie”.  I’m not proud of these impulses.

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 1/2 c (or more) cooked quinoa (preferably red)

Scrub the potatoes well, then cut them into 1-inch cubes.  Put them in a large pot and cover with water by an inch; salt liberally.  Put the pot over high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Wash the kale thoroughly and chop roughly.  When the potatoes are tender, add the kale to the pot, pushing it into the water.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the kale is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet; add the garlic clove and cook until it starts to brown.  Dice the onion and add it to the skillet with a few pinches of salt; saute the onions until translucent and soft, about 3-4 minutes.

When the potatoes and kale are done, drain them and put them back into the pot (or into a large mixing bowl).  Stir in the sauteed onions and the quinoa, reserving the skillet that you used to saute the onions.

Using a wooden spoon, mash everything together.  The dish should have the texture of “smashed” potatoes, or really chunky mashed potatoes.   Using the same cast-iron skillet as before, heat a few more tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, spoon the potato mixture into the skillet.  (You may have more potato mixture than you can use for one cake, and that’s wonderful news:  Refrigerate the mixture, and you can use it the next day to have breakfast on the table in ten minutes.)  Using the back of the spoon, spread it as flat as possible; you want to create a 1-inch thick cake that goes up to the edges of the skillet.

Saute the cake for 2 minutes, then drizzle a little olive oil on top and place in the oven.  Roast the cake for 15 minutes; it should be brown at the edges and firming up.  If you want, broil it for a few minutes to get a nice brown crust on top.

Cut into wedges and serve hot under a mess of black beans, creamed chicken or tomato ragout.  It’s also delicious with a little aioli, as in the picture below.


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It has been a lazy day, being New Year’s Day, so I wanted a quick and simple lunch.  Sweet potato hash fit the bill nicely, piled on some multigrain toast.  It would have been wonderful with a poached egg on top, but A) we’re out of eggs, and B) my lovely vegetarian wife absolutely hates eggs.

Sweet Potato Hash:

  • one medium sweet potato, cut into (roughly) 1/2 inch cubes
  • olive oil
  • one medium onion, diced
  • one garlic
  • dried thyme

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the sweet potato cubes with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and salt and freshly ground black pepper, then place on a baking sheet.   Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes until they start to brown and become tender.  Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic with a little more olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over low heat; salt them liberally so that they become tender and don’t burn!  Add a little thyme to taste.  When sweet potato cubes are ready, toss them into the skillet and mix with the onion mixture.  Raise heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture starts to become crispy and hash-like.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a little hot sauce, if desired.

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