Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Irish tapas - Potato cake with smoked salmon or goats cheese

After months of not being able to get a date that suited everyone I finally met up with the 3 lovely ladies that I met a year ago through a night class I was doing at the time. We had been trying to meet up for so long and all had so many things on the cards that a final decision was made that we would meet and all bring tapas, anything else for a week night was probably going to be an awful lot of hassle.

Strangely you can feel just as hassled making small things as big things so I opted for the really simple option. Id brought some lovely Knockdrinna goats cheese back from my weekend in Kilkenny and had some very swish beechwood cold smoked salmon from Inishturkbeg sitting in my fridge. When you have fantastic ingredients it seems a shame to do anything but show them off so I went for very simple potato cakes with these very simple toppings. 

Potato cakes are a crazily simple thing to make and were always made by my mom without any recipe at all. They are a great way of using up any mashed, boiled or baked potatoes you might have hanging around the house.

Potato cakes (makes 20 small canape size cakes) 
  • 300g boiled and peeled potatoes (I used lovely floury Kerr Pinks)
  • 1 dessertspoon of cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 dessertspoons of flour and some extra for dipping the cakes in before frying
  1. If you dont have some left over mashed or boiled potatoes waiting to be used then boil your potatoes in salted boiling water. 
  2. Remove from the water and, while still hot, peel and mash/rice with some salt and pepper.
  3. Add the cream or some milk to help mash. 
  4. Once finely mashed add the flour until the mix feels dry enough to shape, depending on your potatoes you may need more or less. What you are aiming for is for the dough to be dry enough so that it wont stick to the frying pan. 
  5. Heat a frying pan to a medium heat with a mix of oil and butter or just some oil on its own. 
  6. Roll out the dough and cut into quarters or shape small discs
  7. Dip both sides in flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper
  8. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown, the frying pan should be relatively dry
  9. Remove from the frying pan and eat while still warm (fantastic with any cheese) or leave to cool.
I made 3 different versions above:
- Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche
- Goats cheese with Blackberry and Apple jam
- Goats cheese with walnut

Inish Turk Beg organic beechwood cold smoked salmon is part of a new range of smoked fish from Inish Turk Beg, a small island in Clew Bay, Mayo. This along with their honey roast hot smoked salmon are really something quite special. They also have smoked mackerel and Albercore tuna as part of the range. Inish Turk Beg smoked fish is currently available in Donnybrook Fair in Dublin and will be available in selected other stores throughout Ireland in the near future. Admittedly it is on the more expensive side (€9.95 for 100g) but well worth the splurge for a special occasion. Only a week after hearing Dr. Susan Steele of BIM speak about the fact that we are exporting over 86% of our fish, it was great to hear of a new company doing something fantastic with some of that fish before selling it around Ireland and exporting to foreign shores. 

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