Friday, March 17, 2006

Irish Blue Cheese Potato Cakes

Cashel Blue was developed in 1984 and it is Ireland’s original artisinal blue cheese. Ireland's Beechmount Farm in the town of Tipperary makes this superb blue cheese. Cashel Blue is a young, somewhat mild and extra creamy cheese that, unlike inferior blues, is not too salty. It is a fabulous alternative to Gorgonzola or Stilton. These potato cakes are nouveau Irish cuisine and the recipe is from The New Irish Table: 75 Contemporary Recipes by Margaret M. Johnson.

INGREDIENTS (12 servings)

  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup Cashel Blue cheese, or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup 2-percent milk, for dredging
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs, for dredging
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups canola oil
  • Sour cream or crème fraiche for topping, optional

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and mash the potatoes. Set aside.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Sauté the chives and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft. Stir into the mashed potatoes. Then stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill and parsley. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Stir in the blue cheese and egg yolk. The cheese should remain in lumps scattered through the potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Shape the potato mixture into 12 cakes and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm it.

Lightly dredge each cake in the flour, then coat it with the egg-milk mixture and dredge it in the bread crumbs.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the cakes to the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. The cakes can be prepared ahead up to this point.

To serve, place the cakes on a baking sheet and reheat them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.

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