Ocean City Today

Mama’s mashed potato cake recipe

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | Mar 01, 2018

(March 2, 2018) Some might confuse my pleasure of partaking in champagne and caviar as arrogance.

I am compelled to ask these individuals, “Has one ever sipped on the bubbly beverage or nibbled on the delightful, tiny eggs that dwell within the species of the beloved sturgeon?”

The world is a treasure chest of delectable ingredients and I intend to feast on every morsel.

That being said, memory lane keeps taking me to a time when I was a child and times were quite different. There was something special as the family gathered around the table to share our daily blessings.

Looking back, it is these precious moments that keep me seasoned with loving remembrances. I am very thankful for these special times and realize how much they have influenced my life.

Mother made the best mashed potato cakes. How she transformed the creamy mashed potatoes into an entirely delicious dish fascinated me.

As I have gotten older, I have tried to repeat this dish but they are simply not the same. Frustration has turned into determination. After much deliberation, I realized I needed to start from the very beginning.

Mouthwatering mashed potato cakes depend on luscious mashed potatoes. So how does one make perfect mashed potatoes is the next logical question?

Not all tubers are created equal as far as mashed potatoes are concerned. Basically, potatoes fall into three categories: starchy, waxy and all-purpose. Starchy potatoes such as Russets or Yukon Golds are the preferred choice.

Starch molecules are bundled in the cell walls of potatoes, and these cells are held together by pectin. When potatoes are cooked, the pectin breaks down, and the cells expand and separate, releasing the bundles of starch molecules.

These high-starch potatoes become dry and crumbly and are like a sponge when absorbing butter and cream. This process allows them to be infused with flavor and obtain the coveted fluffiness.

Cooking potatoes with their skin yields the best potato flavor and velvety texture. However, it is not pleasant burning your fingers as you try to remove the skins.

Boiling potatoes without their jacket will result in waterlogged starch granules. But steaming the potatoes will certainly help counteract this problem. Changing habits is not easy, but this one is worth it.

Ricing the potatoes is the final stage for perfection. A ricer is a tool used to process potatoes by forcing them through a sheet of small holes, which are typically the diameter of a grain of rice. When using a ricer, simply put potatoes through the ricer in small pieces and stir in your added ingredients.

Ricers yield the perfect texture for mashed potatoes. Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond carry them for under $15. A ricer is a must for any serious cook.

Mashed potato cakes are a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Parmesan cheese, chives and garlic powder give the mashed potato cakes an interesting twist to standard recipes. Including bacon drippings in the frying oil is another possible option for extra taste. Adding panko bread crumbs to the frying process ensures a crispier exterior.

Mashed potato cakes go well with a variety of menus, but I am partial to breakfast and brunch. For example, crispy mashed potato cakes, topped with a succulent poached egg, a spoonful of luscious caviar with a mouth-watering mimosa is as decadent as it gets.

Mixing simplicity and sophistication create marvelous results. Enjoy!


Mama’s Mashed Potato Cake Recipe


5 cups leftover mashed potatoes

½ cup good quality Parmesan cheese

¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives

few pinches garlic powder

kosher salt to taste

1 large egg yolk plus 2 large eggs

2 teaspoons water

3 cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs

1 ½ cups Crisco


1.  In a medium bowl, combine mashed potatoes, cheese, chives, garlic powder, salt and egg yolk.

2.  Set up for dredging: whisk 2 large eggs and water in a shallow bowl. Place panko in a pie pan. Divide the potato mixture into equal patties. Working one at a time, carefully dip cakes in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides and allowing excess to drip off; then coat cakes with panko, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

3.  Heat Crisco in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook cakes until golden brown on first side, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip and continue to cook the other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

4.  Transfer cooked cakes to a cooling rack until all cakes are done. Do not place on a plate lined with paper towels. Mashed potato cakes sitting on soggy paper towels will spoil the crunchy crust.


Secret Ingredient – Opinion “You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

— Danial Patrick Maynihan

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