Colcannon—a St.Patrick’s day staple—is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes cooked with cabbage or kale. I usually make fritters or potato pancakes if I have leftover mash knocking about the fridge. (Not that boiling potatoes is hard work; please just cook some if you don’t have leftovers.) And in my quest to jam vegetables into everything, adding cabbage and spinach (I didn’t have kale) worked perfectly.
To start, cook the cabbage with salt. Salt will draw out the moisture from the vegetable, cooking it to the right consistency (without having to add water additionally). Throw in a handful of spinach just to wilt down in the residual heat. Combine the cabbage-spinach mixture with mashed potatoes, a tiny bit of flour, spring onions, and a good grinding of black pepper. Mix with your hands just enough to form a cohesive mash, then form into loose fritters and refrigerate for at least 15 mins. Overnight is fine too. The mash and the tiny bit of flour will bind the fritters and give them structure, and refrigerating them for even a short while will further help keep them intact. If they still threaten to fall apart whilst handling/cooking, just patch them together, no big deal.
The initial plan was to mix the cheese through (not use it as a topping like I have here). But my sleep-deprived mom brain forgot that step. To improvise, I added a small mound of cheese onto each fritter and cooked them covered to melt the cheese. In hindsight, this turned out to be a better method – you can actually taste the cheese on top; it doesn’t get lost with the other flavours.
The burst cherry tomatoes are exactly what the name implies – cook whole cherry tomatoes until they start to burst open. Squish with a spatula to help them along, then add spring onion greens to finish. Just the right amount of acidity and pop of colour for the fritters!
COLCANNON FRITTERS + BURST CHERRY TOMATOES
- 4 large potatoes
- 175 grams cabbage
- 100 grams spinach, chopped
- 5 spring onions, chopped
- ¼ cup flour
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- 60 grams cheddar, grated
- 30 grams butter, for frying
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt, to taste
Burst cherry tomatoes:
- 500 grams cherry tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Scrub the potatoes clean. Quarter them with their skins on. Add to a pressure cooker with ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of water. Cook until tender. Drain and add to a bowl. (If you don’t want to use a pressure cooker, cook in a pot.)
- Roughly mash the potatoes with their skins on. You want small bits, not a smooth mash. Set aside.
- Slice the cabbage into thin strips. Use a knife, mandoline or food processor for this.
- Heat the olive oil over medium in a pan and add the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Cook covered, giving it a toss occasionally, until the cabbage wilts down–about 5-7 mins.
- Wilt the spinach with the cabbage for 2 mins. Add the cabbage and spinach mixture to the mashed potatoes. Retain the pan.
- To the mash and cabbage, add the flour, spring onion bottom parts (save the tops for later), and salt. Mix with your hands just enough to combine.
- Form into rough patties (of about 2.5 inches). Refrigerate for at least 15 mins. Overnight is fine too.
- Divide the grated cheese roughly based on the number of fritters you have. Divide the butter into small pieces.
- Heat the pan over medium and add enough butter to coat the bottom of your pan in a thin layer.
- Add a few fritters to the pan and cook until browned on the bottom. Flip, then add the cheese over the browned side. Cover and cook for a few mins until the cheese melts through. Cook the fritters in batches, adding more butter each time.
- After the fritters are done, add the cherry tomatoes to the same pan with a little salt and olive oil. Cover and cook for 5-7 mins, squishing the tomatoes slightly to break them down. Add the spring onion tops and toss through.
- To serve, place the fritters on a large plate and top with the tomatoes. Serve hot.