Leftover ham? You could make Ham and Cheese Bread, but I suggest you try these Sweet Potato Cakes with Ham instead. Creole mustard gives them zip and dill adds extra sweetness.
When I was a kid, I always looked forward to mashed potatoes for dinner. Not because I loved mashed potatoes, but because I knew leftovers meant Mom would be making potato cakes for breakfast the next morning. Nothing made me jump out of bed on a school day more than the smell of potato cakes cooking in bacon fat. No matter how I try, mine never taste as good as Mom’s.
I thought that leftover Easter ham would be great in potato cakes, then I realized using sweet potatoes would make them even better. Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin A too. Beta-carotene, an antioxidant, protects the body from damage caused by free radicals and may help prevent cancer and heart disease. Adding some good fat, in this case olive oil, significantly helps the body better absorb the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes.
The CompostMaster took one bite of Sweet Potato Cakes with Ham, closed his eyes, and pronounced me to be “on a roll” this week in the kitchen. There is something about the combination of earthy sweet potato, smoky ham, spicy mustard, sweet dill, and the crisp texture that makes these patties a perfect entrée. Serve them with a big salad and brace yourself for all of the compliments that will be heading your way.
Sweet Potato Cakes with Ham
- 1 1/2 cups cold cooked sweet potatoes
- 1 cup diced cooked ham
- 3 scallions finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard coarse-grained mustard, or Homemade White Wine Mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil
In a large bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Add ham, scallions, mustard, dill, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add egg and 1/2 cup panko. Mix well. Pinch off a little of the mixture and roll into a ball to see if it will hold together. If it won't, add more panko.
Scoop out 1/4 cup of the sweet potato mixture and shape into a ball, then flatten into a patty. Remove to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. You should end up with 8 patties.
Place baking sheet in freezer for about 20 minutes.
Spread out remaining panko on a small plate. Remove baking sheet from freezer and press both sides of each patty into the panko.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. (I used an 8-inch cast iron skillet.) Use a flat spatula to place 2 or 3 patties in skillet. Pan-fry until golden brown on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on second side and heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining patties.
If the patties get soft and hard to work with when you're pressing them in panko, return them to the freezer for 5 minutes or so.
If you want to reduce the fat in this recipe, use a nonstick skillet and just a tablespoon or two of olive oil. The patties won't be quite as crispy, but the flavor will still be good.
If you are watching your sodium intake, look for low-salt ham and mustard. You may also want to reduce or skip the kosher salt.