The Potato Cake Mystery

Heart potato
Image by cuorhome via Flickr

Potato cakes are a food I remember fondly from my childhood. My mother made these crispy treats often, for two reasons: First, the main ingredient was leftover potatoes, and second, they cooked in the broiler. My mother’s gas stove had a broiler drawer directly under the oven. When she turned on the oven, she would take advantage of its heat by broiling food at the same time.

I have an electric oven with no broiler drawer, but I’m not sure that’s why I’ve never made potato cakes. Yesterday I had a lot of leftover potatoes, so I decided to experiment.  The cakes came out crisp but somewhat tasteless. I didn’t poll my company. I’m not sure whether I just didn’t add enough salt, or I left out some essential ingredient like schmaltz. Or perhaps my palate has become more sophisticated over the years.

Here’s the recipe, for you to play with:


  • About 7 leftover potatoes, mashed coarsely
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 onions, chopped and sauteed
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika

Instructions: Mix ingredients, form into mounds, and place under the broiler for about twenty minutes, until brown on top.

If I were to make them again I would add fresh dill or parsley.

Have you ever tried to reconstruct a dish without a recipe?

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  1. I wouldn’t add dill b/c I dislike dill… but I’m guessing that it’s undersalted and maybe needs pepper.
    probably also needs oil or schmaltz…
    think latkes.

  2. Rosemary or curry or garlic would be wonderful I imagine.

    For many years I was making my mom’s lokshen kugel (dairy noodle kugel/pudding) recipe from memory. When I finally got the recipe from her I was surprised to see eggs in it. No wonder she cooked it for so long and no wonder mine never stayed in slices! It didn’t really alter the taste dramatically, but it probably does distinguish a kugel from a pudding.

  3. I like the garlic idea. Also, I’d consider adding a lot more sauteed onions.

  4. I make these for Pesach when I have tons of extra potatos and I would definately say you need a little oil…

  5. This sounds yummy. I think I’m going to add this to my Pesach recipe collection.

  6. I would say season it very well and add some extra virgin olive oil.

  7. Thanks Faye.