Look out, I caught a little creative bug this week, folks! I remember seeing something somewhere with an asparagus edge to it. Maybe it was in one of my Nan’s old cookbooks from the 70s, I’m not entirely sure. At any rate, I was inspired to mess around with the idea and see where it took me. I can say I was quite pleased!
I started with a 5-inch spring form pan and a serving plate. I microwaved a big sweet potato that was sitting in my bin from the Winter CSA, and then mashed it into the bottom layer of the springform. Meanwhile, I whipped up 4 garlic mashed potatoes with some cream and butter and added that as the second layer. On the other burner, I blanched up some asparagus for just a minute before plunging it into ice water.
After a few minutes, things began to firm up and set in the pan. I took off the outside and began to press asparagus tips against the potato cake. I left a little room for a final surprise layer, a couple of inches or so. The asparagus stuck pretty well to the potatoes, and didn’t take long to do at all. So far, so good!
While the asparagus set against the potato cake, I made a spinach dip! I used CSA365’s recipe substituting sour cream for the Greek Yogurt (because that’s what I had on hand), left out the maple syrup (the sweet potato layer will provide enough sweetness) and added chopped chive to taste. The dip is a little potent with the chives, but this is going to balance out the thick layer of potato quite nicely. The radishes added a nice color to the top layer of this dish.
Finally, I stuck some chive flowers in between some of the asparagus tips, and tied a couple of chive stems around the cake for extra reinforcement. Into the fridge things went for about an hour or so.
This was really a great combo! While the chilled potato layer by itself is not too exciting, the dip layer on top provided flavor reminiscent of a potato salad, while the sweet potato layer provided some sweetness, and the asparagus, a fresh crunch. It’s deconstructed in a way that allows you to mix and match the layers and tastes to your liking. My friends and family went back for seconds and I was surprised at how quickly it disappeared from the kitchen table.
As with most of my recipes, this one has lots and lots of flexibility. A layer of goat cheese, beets caramelized onion, or whatever else tickles your fancy is welcome! Enjoy!
- 4 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed a clove of minced garlic, a splash of cream, pinch of butter, salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large sweet potato, microwaved, peeled, and mashed with a pat of butter
- 2 bunches of asparagus, blanched for one minute before being plunged into ice water to stop cooking
- 7-8 chive stems, plus flowers or buds for garnish
- Spinach dip (see below)
- One small container of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (7-8 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons chopped radish or apple (soaked in water)
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
- 1 cup of finely chopped spinach (or quickly wilted then chopped coarsely)
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped onion
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped pepper
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 few turns of freshly ground pepper
- 4-5 chive stems, finely chopped and added to taste
Place the cylinder of a small (5 inch is good) spring form pan onto your serving dish. Spread the layer of sweet potato uniformly onto the plate within the pan’s circumference.
Add the second layer of mashed potato into the pan, spreading uniformly with the back of a spoon. Chill for a free minutes to an hour, until the potato cake is set enough to add asparagus to the edge.
Remove the spring form from the potato cake, and begin to press the asparagus tips into the edge of the cake. The tips should stick up 1-3 inches over the top of the potato layer.
Once you make your way around the potato cake with the asparagus, reinforce it by tying two chive stems together and wrap around the asparagus before tying in a knot.
Layer your spinach dip onto the top of the potato cake, and spread uniformly using the back of your spoon. place chive flowers or chive buds in between several of the asparagus tips around the edge of the cake.