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Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: Potatoes can be whatever you want them to be.
Potatoes are such a friendly food. They’re like the old friend you don’t get to see often, but when you do you fall to chatting like no time has passed. Or like your favorite worn-out pair of jeans. They’re warm, they're comfortable, and they can take whatever you throw at them -- and in the case of potatoes, this includes a wide range of herbs and spices.
I’ve been making my leftover mashed potatoes into potato pancakes for breakfast for as long as I’ve been cooking both potatoes and breakfast for myself. I guess I’ve been channeling Bert Greene all this time. In that time, I’ve taken the opportunity to tuck all sorts of flavorings into the cakes. Sometimes I go for the easy, pleasing rosemary or chives. Sometimes I feel fancy and I add truffle oil. This week, I was feeling spicy, so I added a whole bunch of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and hot paprika.
What I wound up with is something a little reminiscent of the filling of a samosa or of aloo tikki -- maybe next time I’ll add peas -- with a pleasant egginess because I like to use a high egg-to-potato ratio to make something of a batter for frying. The cardinal rule of breakfast is: if you can add yogurt or an egg to it, it can be breakfast. (If you can’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be breakfast, though.) These cakes are good with either. Add a yogurt sauce if you’re feeling saucy, a fried egg if you’re feeling egg-y. Potatoes can take it.
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, left whole and unpeeled (so they don't get waterlogged while cooking) or 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed to a paste
2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon hot paprika (use less if you're spicy-breakfast averse)
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon butter, plus lots more for frying
Plain yogurt mixed with your choice of herbs plus lemon juice for serving, or fried eggs, or chutney, or any other sauce you want
Photos by Emily Vikre