Vermont’s Shelburne Farms is an education center for people interested in agriculture and conservation. This National Historic Landmark property is also a great place for a long walk, and Chef Rick Gencarelli runs the inn’s restaurant there–all good reasons to visit. This recipe is inspired by his work. Serve at your next brunch instead of hash browns, or at dinner next to a rare steak.
** Adapted from Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli (Viking Studio, 2007; $34.95)
In a medium-size cast-iron frypan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are silky and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove to a plate. Wipe frypan clean. Rinse potatoes well, but don’t peel. Shred on a box grater. Place shredded potatoes on a clean dishtowel and sprinkle with another generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss potatoes with your hands to season. Gather towel corners together and twist (over a bowl or sink) to remove as much moisture as possible. In the still-warm frypan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the shredded potatoes in an even layer; press them into the pan. Add leeks and cheese in even layers. Add remaining potatoes, pressing them into the pan. Cover the pan and cook until potatoes are golden brown on the bottom (peek with a spatula), 8 to 10 minutes. Turn a plate (larger than the pan) over on top of the potatoes. Place your hand firmly on top of the plate and carefully flip the pan so the potato cake is on the plate. Heat remaining oil until shimmering. Slide potato cake back into pan, raw side down; cover, and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Slide from pan and let rest 3 to 5 minutes before serving.