The commoner’s potato cake

I wrote about the aristocratic backdrop to the ‘gattò di patate’ only a few weeks ago, because the theme of blue blood came to mind in view of the impending Kate and Wills’ wedding.  On the actual day of the wedding, however, which saw me glued to the TV screen in the company of several other people around the globe, the potato cake I made had much more to do with leftovers than it did royalty.

I usually make it with ordinary onions but used leeks this time because I didn’t know what else to do with them … they (the leeks) were getting on my nerves, casting accusing looks at me every time I opened the fridge door … as if to say: well? still not made up your mind?hurry up and eat us, we can’t hang around forever, you know!  The mozzarella was similarly unimpressed with me – only the potatoes were game and friendly as usual (spuds are such generous veggies).  The potatoes need to be boiled and mashed but there is nothing fastidious about this recipe and that’s why it proves useful for special occasions, when one’s attention is perforce drawn elsewhere.

So drawn elsewhere, I have to confess … that I used the wrong kind of saucepan.  This recipe is easier with a non-stick pan … but, with a little bit of pasting and patting, I got there in the end.  See for yourselves …


Boiled potatoes and leeks (the parsley is more for the garnish).

olive oil in the pan … not the best choice of saucepan, as it turned out — repeat, it would have been better to have opted for a non-stick pan for this recipe.


chop the leeks

cover the pan and stew the leeks on a very low heat …

roughly chop the boiled potatoes …

use a masher to … mash the potatoes … no big deal, we’re not after finesse, a chunky mash is good enough.

The leeks are nearly ready now, they have softened up …

Add the potatoes …

Mix …

Pat things down a bit …

Add a bit of salt …

Add some chunks of mozzarella that has been strained to get rid of excess liquid …

Mix again …

Pat down again …

Shape the potato cake, to follow the curve of the saucepan … and turn off the heat.  No flame at this point.


Avail yourself of a plate large enough to cover the saucepan with the potato cake …. and cover it …

The saucepan is going to be hot … and you want to turn it over … so make sure you do not burn your fingers … get hold of some very good oven mitts/potholders … and move everything to a work surface.

Tip the saucepan, upside-down, so that the plate is on the bottom and the saucepan on the top … as in the photo.

A sorry sight … the potato cake is off kilter … but no fear … we are still in the midst of our preparation.  Notice the saucepan on the right, with ‘bits’ attached to its bottom … it’s looking a little ‘dry’ …

Drizzle more olive oil over the bottom of the pan …


Turn the heat on again, and gently coax the potato cake back into the saucepan …

It looks nice and browned on top, doesn’it … now we want the same on the bottom.

You can almost smell it when it is cooked … about 5-6 minutes on a high heat.


I tried ‘sliding’ the potato cake onto the serving dish … but the saucepan just wasn’t non-stick enough … some of the potato cake clung to it.  So I had to coax it out, very gently …

Scrape the bottom of the pan and put all of the potato cake onto the serving dish, a little bit at a time, shaping it as you go along …

Scrape all the crispy ‘bits’ off the saucepan too! they taste yummy and shouldn’t be wasted!

What was rather messy-looking is being teased back into a respectable potato-cake shape.


Very respectable looking …

Respectable delectable … the wonders of leftovers!


About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
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2 Responses to The commoner’s potato cake

  1. Kathryn Gearheard says:

    I am ready to try this one tonight ( I hate when Veg give you dirty look when they don’t get immediate attention…a sweet little zucchini I got for a pasta dish that is doing that at the moment.)
    What did you serve with it, Jo? green salad? or just another veg or only red vino?

  2. josephine says:

    Hello there … you can serve it with whatever takes your fancy (even meat balls!) … it’s just so nice and ‘comforting’ !

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