Mashed Potato Cakes

If you've never had mashed potato cakes, you're in for a treat. Though simple to make, there are a few tips: Use real mashed potatoes instead of boxed; take them cold from the refrigerator before cooking, and if your mashed potatoes have a lot of moisture, say from heavy cream or milk, then you may need to add more cornstarch. When forming the cakes, make sure they're not too soft or too thin, or they'll spread when cooking. When cooking in the hot oil, resist the temptation to flip them too early, otherwise a crunchy golden crust won't form. I gently season my mashed potato cakes, but feel free to add your own favorite seasonings and herbs such as minced garlic, chives, sage or rosemary.

Mashed Potato Cakes i i
Susan Russo for NPR
Mashed Potato Cakes
Susan Russo for NPR

Makes 7 cakes

Canola oil

2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes

4 to 5 tablespoons cornstarch

2 scallions, finely chopped, both green and white parts

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with canola oil and place over medium-high heat.

Place 2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, starting with 4 tablespoons of cornstarch, and gently blend with your hands. Feel it. It should be somewhat heavy and smooth. If it's soft and sticky, then add a little more cornstarch.

To make equal size pancakes, use an ice cream scoop. Then gently flatten the ball into a thick pancake. If you don't have an ice cream scoop, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or your hands.

Make sure the oil is very hot before placing the pancakes in the skillet. Once ready, cook 3 to 4 at a time, making sure to not overcrowd them. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until a golden crust forms, then flip once. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes until golden. If they're getting too dark, lower the heat. Place on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat. Serve with sour cream, applesauce, leftover cranberry sauce, maple syrup, salsa or hot sauce.

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