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Manchego and Yellow Finn Potato Cakes with Romesco Sauce


Manchego and Yellow Finn Potato Cakes with Romesco Sauce
Serves 4
This recipe by Chef Annie Somerville of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco uses starchy Yellow Finn potatoes as delightful hosts for leeks, spring onions, tender shoots of green garlic, and a variety of cheeses. (If you can’t find Yellow Finn potatoes, Yukon Golds will work.) While Manchego is the featured cheese here, any creamy melting cheese will do. Using masa harina instead of regular flour adds flavor and makes the cakes gluten-free.
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ROMESCO SAUCE
  1. 4 plum tomatoes
  2. 2 medium red peppers, cut in half lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
  3. 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. ¼ cup bread crumbs
  5. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  6. ¼ cup toasted almonds
  7. ½ teaspoon paprika
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. Pinch pepper
  10. Pinch cayenne pepper
  11. ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar
  12. ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
POTATO CAKES
  1. 2 pounds Yellow Finn potatoes
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for frying
  3. 2 medium leeks, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, sliced and washed (about 1½ cups)
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, plus extra for garnish
  8. 3 ounces Manchego cheese, grated (about ¾ cup)
  9. 1 to 1½ tablespoons masa harina
Instructions
  1. ROMESCO SAUCE: Heat oven to 450ºF. Rub tomatoes and peppers with oil, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast peppers until skins are blistered and the flesh is soft, about 20 minutes. The tomatoes will take about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers, slip skin off tomatoes, and core.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet; add bread crumbs and garlic and toast over medium heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Combine bread crumbs, garlic, peppers and tomatoes in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt, cayenne, sherry vinegar, and lemon juice to taste.
  3. POTATO CAKES: Place potatoes in a pot of cold water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until they’re tender but not quite cooked through, about 25 minutes. Drain, and set aside to cool. Peel potatoes, and grate by hand or in a food processor.
  4. Heat oil in a medium-size skillet, and add leeks, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of pepper. Cook over medium heat until leeks begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  5. Combine leeks, potatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a bowl. Beat eggs and crème fraîche together, and mix into potatoes along with cheese and flour.
  6. Form into little cakes 3 to 4 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Cook in a well-oiled skillet or on a griddle over medium heat, allowing cakes to crisp and turn golden, about 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately, with romesco sauce.
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culture: the word on cheese

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Chef Annie Somerville

Annie Somerville is the executive chef of Greens Restaurant and the author of the award-winning cookbook Fields of Greens and Everyday Greens. She came to Greens in 1981, trained under Deborah Madison, and has been the executive chef since 1985. She works closely with the organic gardeners at Green Gulch Farm, local growers, cheese makers, and other purveyors, as well as with Greens chefs, planning menus and overseeing a talented kitchen staff.