Meatless Monday: Falafel-crusted potatoes with red sauce(Read article summary)
Mashed potato patties are coated with the Middle Eastern staple falafel, baked and served with Italian red sauce.
We frequently talk about what inspires our cooking here. Marion actually got the idea for this hearty meal from some finger food. I’ll turn the kitchen over to her to tell you about it.
Last year, at one food-related event we attended, the standout for me was a low-key, earthy vegan dish: Potatoes, cut into discs and coated with falafel. Alongside the dazzling array on the several buffet tables, this dish was almost the country cousin, quiet and shy in its simplicity. But when I remember that evening, this is the only dish I actually recall. There were a lot of other very wonderful things, sophisticated and clever and fun; I distinctly remember saying “Wow, this is great too!” several times, but this homely little presentation really fastened itself into my head. I don’t remember who made it, but I remember it.
Fast forward to last weekend, when thanks to absent-minded shopping, we suddenly had a surfeit of potatoes in the house. Yukon golds, purples, little red potatoes, waxy russets. We had ‘em all, and now what? That was when I once again recalled this potato dish.
Rather than use sliced potatoes, I chose to take the next step and mash them because I wanted something a little more citified. In this version, the potatoes are simmered, then mashed, and then they are formed into little patties, dredged in falafel mix and baked until they turn lightly gold. In another experimental version, I mixed the falafel flour with water and coated the patties with that – a presentation with a thicker crust. But that did not work out so well in the oven; the outsides just kind of stayed beige – in the end, I pan fried those patties to give them the appropriate golden-brown look. They were good, but the version with the dredged coating that you see here was better, more delicate and tasty and less fatty.
For the tomato sauce, Terry’s photo shows a quickly put together homemade Italian sausage, mushroom and tomato sauce, but a vegetarian tomato sauce would be super and would, of course, make this a vegetarian recipe. And omitting dairy from the mashing process makes this a really good vegan dish. In the interest of time saving, go with a good-quality bottled sauce if you wish. In any case, I recommend aiming for chunkier style sauces.