This is a version of Yotam Ottolenghi's Cauliflower Cake (found here in its original metric form). I tried it about 6 weeks ago, and it was, well... a bit too cauliflower for us. Mind you, I like cauliflower, but not bland, boiled cauliflower.
So today I decided to give it another try, subbing potatoes for the cauliflower. And hey, while I was at it, I added some multicolored peppers for pizazz. And given peppers, why not make it with southwestern spices?
And why not make it in a more hand-friendly form? (My husband is an inveterate snooze button addict, with the result that he often needs to grab something on his way out the door.)
It turned out great! Given all the parmesan, the egg batter came out like a cross between a quiche filling and a popover dough. The spices were assertive, but not overwhelming, and the potatoes were just the right texture contrast. Yum!
So here's my take on Ottolenghi. You'll need:
2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium (3-in?) yellow onion, chopped
~4 oz chopped multi-color sweet peppers
olive oil as needed
spices for potatoes (I used Trader Joe's everyday spice)
8 large eggs
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
turmeric, cumin, ground chipotle and ground cilantro, to taste
freshly ground pepper
2 cups grated parmesan (TJs is better than Kraft, trust me)
pepper strips and ground chipotle for decoration
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put silicone or paper liners in cupcake tin.
Fry potatoes with spice in olive oil until they begin to brown. Turn down heat, put lid on pan and let them steam in their own internal water until the insides are soft.
While the potatoes steam, whisk eggs in a large bowl. In a second bowl, measure out flour, baking powder, salt, southwestern spices, parmesan and a couple grinds of pepper.
Remove potatoes from skillet and set aside.
Add a bit more spice and, if needed, a little more olive oil to the pan you used for the potatoes and saute peppers and onions until soft.
Add the onion/pepper mix (including any oil in the pan) to the eggs. Gradually add the flour / cheese / spice mixture, using a whisk or fork to make sure all is incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in the potatoes, being careful not to break them. Make sure the potatoes are distributed evenly in batter.
Fill cupcake forms just a bit below the top of the liner -- a bit higher than the 3/4 full suggested for cupcakes. (The batter will rise some, but it's thick, so it won't rear up like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and make a mess all over your oven.) Put a nice curl of bright-colored pepper and a sprinkle of chipotle on top of each cupcake.
Bake until slightly browned and no longer shiny -- about 35 minutes. A knife inserted into any cupcake should also come out clean. I think it's a mistake to let them get "golden brown" as the original recipe suggests -- the eggs dry out.