Waste Not, Want Not Potato Cakes

November 20, 2010
Author Notes

My parents were children of the Depression. Couple that with the fact we were relatively poor (not poverty-stricken, but certainly not middle-class), and lived in the rural South, and you produced a family that didn't waste anything. This was my favored way of recycling leftover potatos, and I used to eye the dish when Mama would make stewed potatos (quartered, boiled, then the water thickened with a cornstarch-and-milk slurry to make a heavier sauce, with some parsley added) to be sure there were enough left to do this with the next night. It also worked on mashed potatos, and I have even used it with roasted potatos (you just have to mash up a few pieces, but the crispy-chewy outside lends a neat texture note). It's still one of the ultimate comfort foods for me, and I never boil or mash potatos that I don't cook some extra for this. —Kayb

  • Serves 4
  • 2 cups leftover stewed, boiled, mashed or roasted potatos
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk, approximately
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
In This Recipe
  1. In a bowl, mash up a few of the potatos, if using boiled or roasted. Add flour, green onions, baking powder, salt and pepper, and beaten egg.
  2. Stir to distribute flour, and begin adding milk, a bit at a time, until a good thick batter consistency is reached.
  3. Scoop in about 1/2 cup portions into hot oil. Fry about 3-4 minutes, until golden, flip, and brown that side. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm in oven on a rack until ready to serve.
  4. If you want to fancy up the presentation, sprinkle with some freshly grated parmigiano and some chopped chives, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.
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I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!