The potato cake is a variation on hash browns, only fluffier, tangier and bigger. Garlic sizzles in butter until both are golden brown, then the coarsely chopped flesh of several baked potatoes is added along with sour cream. It is all folded together, then pressed into a nonstick skillet and cooked on the stovetop until the bottom is golden brown. Finally, it is baked until the entire cake is crispy all over. If you are a mashed potato lover, try this dish. It tastes like a coarse, garlicky mash with a delicate, golden crust.
Garlicky Mashed Potato Cake
• 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 6 medium-large), scrubbed
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Pinch of ground nutmeg
• 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream, at room temperature
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Arrange an oven rack in the center position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack until the flesh is soft and tender and the skins are crispy, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them sit at room temperature just until they are cool enough to handle (they should still be hot). Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat a 10-inch nonstick, oven-safe skillet over medium. Add the butter and swirl the skillet until the butter is melted and foamy, then add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until both the garlic and butter are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
Cut the still-hot potatoes in half and scoop the flesh out onto a cutting board (save the skins for snacking or discard). Use a knife or bench scraper to chop up the flesh so you have pieces of various sizes but none larger than a walnut half.
Add the potato flesh to the skillet, season generously with salt and pepper and add a pinch of nutmeg. Add the creme fraiche or sour cream, and fold the mixture gently until the potatoes are evenly coated, then flatten it gently into a single layer. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook undisturbed until all the moisture has evaporated and the potatoes are starting to turn golden on the bottom, 5 to 8 minutes.
Gently shake the skillet to loosen the potato cake, then transfer it to the oven and bake until the potatoes are lightly browned across the surface, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the skillet and let sit for 10 minutes, then carefully invert the potato cake onto a serving platter (if making ahead, see note below). Top with chives and serve.
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes, serves 8.
Do ahead: The potato cake can be made several hours in advance. Leave it in the skillet and set aside at room temperature, then reheat in the oven at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.