Crispy Potato Cake with Cured Salmon

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Crispy Potato Cake with Cured Salmon
Herb Crème Fraîche, Fennel-Red Onion Slaw,
Four-Minute Quail Egg and Caviar

A feast for all the senses, the Wente Vineyards Restaurant's open architecture allows the kitchen's rich, savory aromas to greet you at the door. Vineyards and gardens surround the restaurant, reinforcing the Wente philosophy of using the best possible seasonal ingredients. The restaurant and the winery are wonderful showcases for a re-emerging and vigorous Livermore Valley wine region.

Serves 12


  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 bunch chives, snipped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 cup raw fennel, sliced very thinly
  • Olive oil
  • Champagne vinegar for seasoning
  • 6 quail eggs (optional)
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup clarified butter
  • 12 slices of cured or smoked salmon
  • 1/2 ounce caviar
  • Salt and pepper

1. Combine crème fraíche with chives and season with salt, Set aside.

2. Mix red onion and fennel with olive oil, a small splash of Champagne vinegar, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste.

3. Fill a small saucepan with enough cool water to cover the quail eggs. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat as soon as a gentle boil has been reached and let the eggs sit in the hot water for four minutes. Drain the eggs and cool under running water. Carefully peel away the shell, cut the eggs in half and set aside.
The saltiness of the salmon and
caviar, along with the creaminess
of the egg will contrast well with
the bubbles, acidity and toasty
character of sparkling wines.

Chef's Recipe Notes:

This is a favorite combination of mine for flavors, textures, ingredients and colors, which naturally complement a festive holiday gathering, pleasing the eyes and the palate.

                    Elisabeth Schwarz
                      Restaurant Chef
                     Wente Vineyards

4. Shred the potatoes to 1/16" thickness with a mandoline. Store the potatoes in cold water until ready to use. Drain the shredded potatoes and pat dry. Place 1/3 cup of the clarified butter in a medium sized nonstick skillet over medium heat. Form four small mounds with the potatoes and carefully place them into the hot butter. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Gently flatten each mound with the back of a spoon, while keeping the four portions separate. Once a golden brown crust has developed on the bottom of the cakes, turn them over with a spatula. Continue to cook until they are a light golden brown color, crispy on the outside, with a tender middle. Repeat this process until 12 cakes have been pan fried. Drain them on a paper towel and keep them at room temperature.

6. Just prior to serving, arrange the salmon on the potato cakes, top with a small dollop of the herb crème fraíche, follow with the onion-fennel slaw, an egg half, (optional) and the caviar.

Wente Vineyards Restaurant
5050 Arroyo Road
Livermore , CA 94550

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