These delectable potato “crush cakes” capture the first fresh tastes of spring produce. The flavor of new chive shoots stirred into a buttermilk cream drizzle combined with the sweetness of new potatoes lets your mouth know that gardens everywhere are waking up.
Why, you may be asking, are they called “crush cakes?” Because after boiling the potatoes until they are fork tender, you then spread them out on a cookie sheet and lightly “crush” them with a potato masher. This fashions them into cute little cakes that once brushed with oil, herbs, and coarse salt are ready for a quick bake in a 425 degree oven. A creamy buttermilk chive sauce spooned over the top of each cake before serving adds perfection this simple side dish.
In the last post, I enthused about my trusty cast iron skilled (which I still maintain no kitchen can do without). This time around, my attentions are focused on the almost equally important, humble potato masher. I didn’t grow up with one in suburban Massachusetts so the first time my husband-to-be pulled one out to make – none other than! – mashed potatoes, I was skeptical and my initial thought was “Oh, how cute. That is so country.” That was twenty years ago. Since then I have used mine to assist in the hashing of chunky soups, to whip up a batch of buttery guacamole, in the pressing of many bowlfuls of homemade mashed yams and white potatoes, and now in the shaping of our new family favorite, potato “crush cakes.” Very cute. Very country. Very cultured. But best of all, delicious.
Spring Potato “Crush Cakes” with Buttermilk Chive Drizzle
These mini potato cakes would be just the right addition to an Easter or Spring Buffet. The object is to ever so slightly mush the boiled spuds – don’t worry about perfection! The finished product has a delightful, rustic presentation. Make sure to use new potatoes because they have a thinner skin since they are harvested young. This makes the potato cake sweeter and more tender. One more thing: you should know that kids gobble these up. Making extra might be a good idea.
For the Potatoes:
14 + whole new potatoes
a few glugs of olive oil
a few pinches of kosher salt
10-15 new chive shoots (mature chives will work fine as well – just use a few less or your potatoes and sauce will be very “chive-y”), minced
For the Buttermilk Chive Drizzle:
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon salt
10-15 new chive shoots (as described above), minced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Place the potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until they are fork tender. Remove them from the heat and pour into a colander. Once they have cooled a bit, arrange them on a baking sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper to ease clean up), leaving at least an inch or two of room in between each potato.
With a potato masher (sigh, I guess a big fork might work in a pinch), press down gently on each potato until it mashes. Then rotate your utensil -to make a criss cross pattern, about 90m degrees- and press down again. If they seem to fall apart, just pinch them together with your fingers. Once all of the potatoes have been mashed, brush some olive oil over the top of each one, sprinkle with salt and a few fresh chives. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are just golden brown.
Meanwhile, stir together the ingredients for the Buttermilk Chive Sauce in a small bowl. When the potato cakes are ready, spoon a little dollop of sauce over each one and serve immediately. They are yummy at room temperature as well.