Our fridge is getting really full. We do a lot of fermentation this time of year and store it, once complete, in the fridge where fermentation slows down the fermentation and the food is kept alive (if that sounds odd, think of yogurt). We still have a jar of fermented green tomatoes, our awesome herbes salees, 3 liters of sauer kraut and another 3 liters of fiery carrot and cabbage kimchi. There’s also many half eaten jars of jams, pickles and other delights from the great wall of preserves. You get the idea – the fridge is getting FULL!
Filling jars is one thing – but emptying them is the real great task! We’ve got to eat our way through all of that fermented goodness so why not start with an awesome kimchi potato cake and top it with a poached egg ?
If you’ve struggled with poaching eggs before, here’s a primer on poaching eggs without vinegar.
Let’s start by talking about boiling potatoes. You can use leftovers if you have them, but I didn’t. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Use too much water. The moment you drop the potatoes in the boiling water, the temperature will drop. You don’t want them to have a bath; you want to cook them at a boil. The more water you have, the sooner it will return to a boil as the relative percentage of cool potato to hot water drops with more liquid. This is true of cooking anything in water.
- Salt your water well.
- Boiling whole potatoes with the skins on will help prevent them from becoming soggy. However, if your potatoes are very different sizes, timing them can be very tricky. If my spuds aren’t very close in size, I tend to cut them in large chunks that are similar in size to each other.
- Leave the skins on for this one, they’re full of good stuff (including flavor and texture).
- Cook them until a fork easily penetrates them but no longer (we want some texture). They should appear fluffy and dry when you mash them.
- Don’t rinse them: that starchy goodness will help your cakes come together.
- Drain them meticulously and let them sit in the strainer to dry further for a few minutes.
A few notes about the recipe:
- I don’t add additional salt because my kimchi has plenty in it.
- There’s no measurement on the kimchi as it’s completely relative to your taste and your kimchi. ours is EXTREMELY hot and only needs a little.
- The egg is optional; I only included one because I broke the yolk when cracking an egg for poaching.
- To poach more than one egg at a time, use our oven method for poaching large quantities of eggs or, as a commenter posted: poach your egg 90% complete and place in an ice (or very cold) water bath. Continue until done (the eggs can hang in the bath together or you can strain on a plate) and warm in hot water just before serving.
- The toughest part is not playing with the cake. Get your pan hot, put the patty in and don’t touch until you flip it once.
Ingredients for Kimchi Potato Cake
- Crushed potatoes (about a half pound per person). you can use mashed potatoes if you haven them leftover but if you’re starting with boiled potatoes (like we are), don’t add milk or butter: just crush them. Crush them to your prefered density – I like them a little chunky.
- kimchi plus a bit of the liquid.
- Optional: 1 egg (if using it, make sure your potato has cooled before adding it).
- Optional: you may need a bit of flour to help it come together.
Directions – Kimchi Potato Cake
- Pre-heat a pan on medium-high heat (closer to high). I prefer a cast iron skillet for this; if you don’t have one, be sure to use the heaviest pot you have that will retain heat well.
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Form mash into patties. I like to start with my hands but I finish making them on a cutting board so they remain a uniform thickness (my hands usually make them thick in the middle and thin on the edges). If the mash is too liquidy, add a bit of flour at a time.
- Add some olive oil to the pan. It will get hot very fast (almost instantly).
- Add the patties to the pan just before it starts to smoke. If things don’t get really loud (from sizzling), you jumped the shark. If it smokes, remove from heat for a moment.
- Don’t touch them. I know you want to. Just don’t. You only get one shot. Wait until you’re not comfortable and itchy and then wait 15-45 seconds more. You should feel like Kevin Bacon in Footloose – trying to jump out of the tractor while playing chicken but you can’t. If they’re a little dark, you’ll call it a crust. And a crust is far better than the whole lot falling apart (if it does, make a hash).
- When you’re finished, top with a poached egg, a bit of coarse salt, a touch of pepper and paprika for color.
The sour crunch of the kimchi takes these potato cakes to a whole new level; it’s like a Korean version of Bubble and Squeak!