Apr 2, 2013

Potato cake with spinach

After a busy Easter, it feels good to eat at home alone again. Not that my mom's duck or snails with pesto at the best restaurant in town (courtesy of my brother in law) were bad. Not that my little nephew can't sit still (typical 4 year old) and always wants something that he shouldn't have and my sister looks for ways to the right thing. All fine, as long as I know the next day, I could do my own thing, in peace.
Today, I wanted comfort food. I didn't want sugar, I didn't want flour. I probably over-ate on cakes during these past three days. This morning, I looked through hundreds of veggie dishes on the web, thinking about something warm, soft, satisfying, tasty and easy. The potato cake looked good. I just added a whole bag of fresh spinach to make it...greener. I ended up with a fine lunch.

Potatoes, passed through the press, feel like a cloud after baking. I used ham (instead of prosciutto) that I had left from Easter Sunday. Smoked cheese was a good idea (not mine). 

It gave the dish that "potato and meat flavor" but in a very subtle, Italian way. The cake is delicate and light but firm enough to make an elegant dish. Even if it's just for us.

Recipe adapted from GialloZafferano

time: 1hr cooking/preparation + 30 min baking + 10 min cooling = 1hr 40min


1 kg (2.25 lbs) potatoes
120 g (4 oz) prosciutto or ham (not smoked)
100 g (3.5 oz)  mozzarella
100 g (3.5 oz) smoked cheese
50 g (2 oz) + 30 g (1 oz) grated Parmesan
2 eggs
generous pinch of nutmeg
salt, pepper to taste
6 small cubes of butter (about 30 g, 1 oz)

250 g (9 oz) fresh baby spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves, split in half, with skin on
4-5 crushed hot pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

butter and bread crumbs for the form


Cook whole potatoes, with the skin on, in salted water. Remove skin while potatoes are still hot.
Preheat oven to 180C/355F. 
Prepare a baking dish, 28x20x8cm (11x8x3 inch), brush it with butter and cover it with bread crumbs.

In a large skillet, set on medium/high, heat olive oil. Add garlic and pepper flakes. After 1 minutes, add spinach leaves. Saute for 5-6 minutes. Remove garlic.

Put cooked potatoes through a potato press (or mash them with a fork). In a medium bowl, combine them well with eggs, 50 g (2 oz) Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Cut mozzarella, smoked cheese and Prosciutto, not too small.  Add and mix in the pieces with potatoes. 

Transfer half of the potato mix into the prepared baking dish. Spread spinach on top. Cover it with the rest of potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and dot it with pieces of butter. Place it in the 180C/355F oven for 15 minutes. Raise temperature to 205C/400F for another 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy when it's still warm.

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