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Table Talk » Crispy Potato Cakes Revisited

Back in September, I posted this recipe for Crispy Potato Cakes. This is an updated version of that recipe. The original recipe called for grating potatoes, soaking them in water, squeezing them dry, then mixing with cornstarch, green onions, and seasoning. I've done some Cooks Illustrated-style experimenting with the recipe because I wanted to see if could find a faster way to make these without affecting the quality. To me, the changes are an improvement. They take less time to make and I like the new potato cakes even better.

Test 1: Break out the food processor
-- My first experiment was to shred the potatoes using the food processor. The comments for the original recipe warned not to use the food processor to grate the potatoes, but rules were meant to be broken, so I pulled out the food processor and shredded my potatoes. Boy, did that make quick work of shredding the potatoes. And no threat of grated knuckles. That's the only change I made for this version. I didn't notice any difference in the results when I used potatoes shredded with the food processor. The second time I made them with potatoes shredded in the food processor, I decided to lower the temperature from 475F to 425F because at 475F, the edges of the potato cakes had a tendency to burn. The potato cakes cooked more evenly at the lower temperature. I increased the cooking time by 5 minutes. No burnt edges!

Test 2: Frozen Hashed Browns -- Since shredding the potatoes in the food processor worked so well, I decided to try using frozen hashed brown potatoes. I used Alexia Foods Organic Hashed Browns. To defrost the potatoes, I simply opened the bags and spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet and let them sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour. The defrosted potatoes didn't have very much moisture in them, so I decided to skip the soaking and squeezing steps. I tossed the defrosted potatoes with the cornstarch, scallions, and spices. This time, I also experimenting with forming the potato cakes freehand. I filled the measuring cup with 1/2 cup of potatoes and tipped the cup over onto the foil-lined baking sheet. I found that I didn't really need the 3-inch ring to form the potato cakes. The potatoes are moist enough to hold together. I pressed them lightly to slightly flatten them. Eliminating the ring saves a little bit of time. These were baked at 425F for 20 minutes, then flipped and baked for 15 minutes longer. They weren't quite crispy enough after 15 minutes, so I baked them for five more minutes. Ultimately, the baking time depends on how crispy you like them. The potato cakes made using the frozen hashed browns were delicious and took significantly less time to make. This method is the winner in my book.


Crispy Potato Cakes-Revisited
adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 6

2 15-ounce packages frozen hashed browns (I use Alexia brand)
1 cup sliced green onions
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
olive oil spray
nonstick aluminum foil

Defrost potatoes by spreading them out on a baking sheet at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine potato and green onion in bowl. Add the cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and onion powder; toss well to coat.

Line two baking sheets with nonstick aluminum foil; coat thoroughly with olive oil spray. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop up 1/2 cup potato mixture. Invert potato mixture on prepared baking sheet, flatten slightly. Repeat the procedure with remaining potato mixture, placing 6 scoops of potato mixture on each baking sheet. Coat tops of potato cakes with olive oil spray.

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Flip potato cakes with a spatula, flatten slightly, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

These freeze beautifully. I vacuum seal two or four potato cakes in a quart-size bag. To heat, preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil and spray the foil with olive oil spray. Place frozen potato cakes on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until warmed.

Note: In my experience, the nonstick foil is critical to the success of this recipe. I've made them with regular foil and lots of olive oil spray and they potato cakes stuck and burned to the foil.

Posted March 23, 2008 7:05 PM in Gluten-Free, Recipes, Tips, Techniques & Tools

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3 Comment(s)

Tom said… (on March 23, 2008 at 20:55 PM #)

And let me tell you from first hand experience, these potato cakes rock!

Cindy Barnard said… (on March 24, 2008 at 11:25 AM #)

I think YOU rock, Patti. I've cheffed these once and liked them but they were a little time consuming so haven't repeated them. I will now, for sure. Think they would reheat in the microwave without losing too much? Thanks!

Patti said… (on March 24, 2008 at 22:23 PM #)

Cindy, Tom has these in his lunch whenever I make them and heats them in the microwave at work. He keeps asking for more, so you'll be fine with microwave heating.


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