Irish Potato Cakes

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This is a master recipe for potato cakes. It’s easy to make variations including Smoked Salmon and Dill Potato Cakes, Cream Cheese and Tarragon Potato Cakes and Smoked Fish Potato Cakes – see the notes below the recipe.

Makes 8


5 medium potatoes (Rooster or Maris Piper work well but don’t use a waxy potato)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil, for frying


1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until very soft. Peel while hot. Place the peeled potatoes back in the pan and dry over a low heat for 30 seconds. Mash until smooth, season with salt and black pepper and place them in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, melted butter and flour and mix well.

2. Form the potatoes into balls, then press them into 8 flat rissoles (the number you make depends on how large you make them). Place them on a plate, cover and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan and add 3 to 4 potato cakes at a time. Cook for 3-4 minutes on both sides or until golden. (Don’t turn them until they are golden and completely sealed on the first side or they will stick.) Remove to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest.

How to jazz up the master Potato Cake Recipe

Herb and Mustard Potato Cakes
Add a spoon of herb flavoured mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of Dijon or tarragon mustard to the potatoes when mashing them.

Smoked Salmon and Dill Potato Cakes
Add little slivers of smoked salmon and some chopped dill to the mashed potatoes – buy the salmon offcuts from a fishmonger, they are cheaper and you can freeze them in small batches ready to make this recipe. If you want to present a posher potato cake, just add the dill to the mashed potatoes and serve the finished cake with folds of lovely smoked salmon on top and a quenelle of cream cheese on the side. Garnish with a frond of dill.

Cream Cheese and Tarragon Potato Cakes
Omit one of the eggs and instead, add a tablespoon of soft cream cheese, fromage frais or sour cream along with a teaspoon of finely chopped tarragon to the mashed potatoes.

Smoked Fish Potato Cakes
Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the mashed potato along with 100g of smoked mackerel or trout (with bones removed). You can add a tablespoon of mayonnaise if you wish to make the potato cakes creamier.

Ham and Pea Potato Cakes
Add some chopped ham or cooked streaky bacon to the mashed potato along with a handful of defrosted peas.

Black Pudding and Sausage Potato Cakes
Remove the meat from 2 sausages. Crumble the sausage and dice the black pudding. Fry in a little olive oil until crispy. Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well.

Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup Potato Cakes
Replace half the potato with cubed sweet potato. Cook both potatoes until soft and mash as per the recipe. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the mashed potatoes and some chopped cooked streaky bacon and mix well. Continue with the recipe as normal.

Curried Potato Cakes
Add a tablespoon of your favourite Thai or Indian Curry paste to the mashed potato mixture.



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