I must be the only person in Chicago wishing for it to snow. It has been a week since I came here and it only snowed once. Understandably, people I met here are sick of the cold weather and looking forward to the spring.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not this crazy person who enjoys the brutally cold winds of Chicago, but after living in the Caribbean for almost 3 years, I was in need of a little bit of a temperature change. And to be perfectly honest, what I love about this weather is the life style that comes with it. Making tomato soup for dinner after work, going to a coffee shop and watch the snow while sipping on a caramel latte, or bundling up in cashmere sweaters and stylish blanket scarves…
I made this potato cake a day before I left the island. I had roasted some chicken for Dwight to eat while I was gone. I thought that a crispy potato cake would pair nicely with chicken or even if he were to choose to make a quick salad next to it for a lighter fare.
I found potato cakes to be a great alternative for grains, especially when you want to impress. In my opinion, what makes this potato cake impressive is the garlic-shallot-thyme combination. Once the potato slices were seared in oil flavored with garlic and shallot, they became so crispy that it was hard for me to not eat them right there and then. I lined them in a cast iron skillet turning it into a cake while generously seasoning in between layers with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. It ended up being an upscale side dish you’d find in a fancy restaurant and one that I will be making often.
Crispy Potato Cake with Garlic and Thyme
- 3 pounds (2-3) baking potatoes, peeled
- 2+2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 medium size shallots, finely minced
- coarse sea salt
- black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- Place the potatoes into a large pot of salted water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. At this point, they will not be fully cooked.
- Take the potatoes out of the water, and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice them into 1/8 inch thick slices.
- Pre-heat the broiler. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Set aside.
- Heat 1-tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter in a non-stick skillet in medium heat, until sizzling hot. Add in a tablespoon of minced shallot, and cook while stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon, for 30 seconds. Add in 1/4 teaspoon of the minced garlic and cook for 10-15 seconds.
- Line the bottom of the skillet with as many as potato slices as it can fit and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Once cooked, transfer them to the baking sheet lined with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle them with coarse salt.
- Discard the remaining oil, garlic, and shallot in the skillet. Repeat the same process with the remaining oil, shallot, and garlic until all potato slices are seared.
- Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 6-inch cast iron skillet.
- Line the bottom with a single layer of the potato slices, sprinkle them with black pepper 1/4 teaspoon (or more if you like) chopped thyme. Add another layer until all potato slices are layered. Make sure to press each layer down using the back of a wooden spoon as you go. Pressing them down is a very important step, as doing so is what keeps the cake together.
- Place it under the broiler until it is browned and crispy, about 7-9 minutes.
- Once baked, allow it to cool for 5 minutes on the kitchen counter. Invert it onto a plate. If you’d like, sprinkle it with more chopped thyme.
- Slice it into wedges and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted (with changes) from here.