I seem to be seeing green this week. I blame it all on St. Patty's Day. Minty green chocolate puddings were our sweet green eats and these potato patties were the savory green eats. When I was little, my Mom always took the time to prepare corned beef for St. Patty's Day, but I was looking to branch out. I had been reading a lot about different Irish foods, and Colcannon stood out to me as something worth trying in my own kitchen. Colcannon is essentially mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale and typically served alongside ham or corned beef. In my rendition, I decided to use kale, and I further mixed it up by turning the kale into pesto, and then turning the green potato mixture into little potato cakes.
The results? Delicious. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these potato patties are winners. We munched on them with a little sour cream at first and then topped them with a poached egg and a sprinkle of cheese for lunch. There will be lots of leftover kale pesto, but you will find a way to use it up. Think kale pesto tossed with pasta, swirled into polenta, spread on a sandwich, or even drizzled on a pizza. If you already have another type of pesto lying around, like basil pesto or even sundried tomato pesto, feel free to substitute that in as I'm sure the results will be delicious. Let me know in the comments if another pesto works for you!
Looks like I'll still have to try the real Colcannon at some point.
Potato Patties with Kale Pesto
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces*
1/3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese**
2 1/2 T. pesto, see recipe for kale pesto down below
1/4 t. salt
1 T. olive oil, divided, for pan frying
Cook the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring the potatoes to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to simmer. Check for doneness at 15-20 minutes by sticking a fork into a potato where there should be just a little resistance. You want a consistency in which the potatoes can be mashed with your finger, but not overdone and mushy. Drain completely and place in a large bowl.
Mash the potatoes using a fork or potato masher. I like mine a little lumpy, but they cannot be too lumpy or the patties will not hold their shape well. Add the egg, cheese, pesto, and salt to the bowl and mix everything together until uniform.
Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat so there is a thin, uniform layer. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, scoop about 1 heaping tablespoon portions into the skillet, pressing down gently with a wet finger or the back of a spoon. You will have to do this in multiple batches so do not overcrowd the pan. Cook on one side for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown and flip to cook the other side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the patties from the pan and place on a wire rack. Add more oil to the pan and continue with the remaining potato mixture. Makes about 16 patties or 4 servings.
* I used Yukon gold potatoes because they have a creamier texture, but russets or red potatoes should work too
** I used Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese, but feel free to try another sharp cheese that you like!
4 oz. lacinato kale, ribs removed and discarded and leaves chopped (about 3 1/2 c. chopped)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 c. walnuts
1/2 t. salt
1 lemon, for zesting and juicing
1/3 c. pecorino romano cheese or parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
black pepper, to taste
Toast the walnuts. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Alternatively, toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat on the stove-top for 8-10 minutes, shaking often.
Place the kale, garlic, walnuts, salt, zest of 1 lemon, and juice of lemon in food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. Add the cheese and pulse to incorporate. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides to make sure everything is consistent. Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil while the motor is running until the desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze in smaller portions in an ice cube tray for later uses. Makes about 1 cup of pesto.