Monday, April 20, 2009

Potato and Greens Torta

Often we end up with leftover greens of various types that we don't know what to do with and while a salad would use them up, sometimes it just doesn't call to us. However, if that happens again, I'll have to keep this Potato and Greens Torta we made for dinner in mind. This torta is like a giant bowl of mashed potatoes, except made in pie form with lots of intriguing twists and turns! After looking over the recipe, it almost read to me like it was going to be a tad on the bland side, so I felt the urge to make some changes as I went along.

Getting the potatoes prepared was first on the agenda - since we were using small Yukon golds, I didn't bother with peeling or cutting them up. After letting them simmer in salted water to become tender, we drained off the water and let them cool for a few minutes. While we typically don't discard the peels in our everyday mashed potatoes, the recipe called for using a potato ricer to get the fluffiest texture and this required removing their coating. Why not do this before hand? Well, after cooking them this way, the skins cleanly peel away without much effort... faster than using a utensil to do it anyway!

While the potatoes were resting, I took a mixture of greens and tossed them into a skillet lined with olive oil that we infused with fresh garlic and crushed red pepper. Don't be afraid to play around with the greens if this sounds like something you might enjoy though! We added what the recipe called for... torn romaine, fresh spinach and arugula - I bet greens like Swiss? chard or kale would work well too. Once they had wilted, we took them out of the skillet and finely chopped so they would disperse well.

Back to the potatoes! After I squished them through the potato ricer, I tossed in the wilted greens, a little milk to loosen things up, fontina cheese, Asiago cheese, a couple eggs to bind (which also lift up the heavy potatoes) and a few shakes from our jar of cayenne pepper sauce. You'll want to season this well with salt and fresh ground black pepper too - if you are afraid of adding too much, you could hold back on the eggs, mix in everything else and then taste for seasonings before going ahead with the eggs. Before scooping this into the pie plate, we coated it with cooking spray, then dusted it with breadcrumbs. While it isn't nearly enough to form a "crust", I did find it ended up helping get the pieces out in one fell swoop!

After baking this torta, the top is showered in Asiago, then set aside to let the potatoes firm up before serving. I'm glad I went ahead and fiddled with the ingredients (the Asiago inside, crushed red pepper, an additional garlic clove and shot of cayenne pepper sauce) as I thought it could have still used some help. Maybe adding extra sharp cheddar to the filling and tossing in a bit more arugula for bite? It was creamy as advertised though (go potato ricer!) and could be a great side or even main dish, if you are willing to work in a little extra zing!


  1. We always have leftover greens too and I feel so bad when we don't use them. This recipe looks super tasty!

  2. Mmmm potato pie. Reminds me of a giant bubble and squeak cake my mum used to make with leftover potatoes.

  3. This recipe is on my menu for this week Joe! Nice to see your pic and review!!

  4. Well this just made my day! It's going to be dinner.....

  5. Mmm, this looks totally yummy. I always have leftover greens around. Now, I know exactly what to do with them. Delicious!

  6. Kerstin - Good way to clean out the fridge I think!

    Katie - Yeah!

    Ana - I'll be interested to hear what you think!

    Quinn - /Flex! Hope you like!

    Elyse - Keep the recipe handy!

  7. Hi Joe!
    I made the potato torta today. We ended up calling it a "mashed potato pie" but even with the change in name it was well received at our house!
    I used mainly spinach, along with some odds and ends of other greens I had in the fridge, and I also added some extra garlic and a couple green onions I had from my csa box - I once sauteed spinach with green onions and just loved the flavor so when I have both I use them together.
    I also used a mix of mozzarela and fontina on mine which was what I had on hand and it worked out well too, but I think more fontina would definitely make for better flavor.
    One thing I added to my mashed potatoes was a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg. I always add it to my mashed potatoes and also to creamed spinach so I thought it would be nice here too and I wasn't wrong. Nutmeg adds a little "extra something" to mashed potatoes, a layer of flavor that most people cannot pin point what it is but that would be missed if not there. Try it sometime in mashed potatoes if you haven't had that yet!
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I made it too! I will try to post about it on my blog too, I am back with my recipes!

  8. Ana - Nice changes! I'll note them down and give 'em a try if we make this again!

  9. Hi Joe,
    I made this recently with some pretty big alterations, and it was amazing! Here's my post on it:
    Thanks for always making such wonderful things and sharing the recipes with us. You're awesome!

  10. Deb - Nice changes! I'm happy you tried it out!