HOLY MOLY what a way to do mashed potatoes!!! You can either serve them per the recipe (without the rouille and sautee) or go the extra mile and make these amazing potato cakes - I suggest the latter. The combo of flavors here is mind blowing. It is a time sucker though (which is generally only bad when you are a hungry cook, which I was) and there is a half hour wait between making the mashed potatoes and sauteeing up the patties. During that time, it was extremely difficult not to dip into the mashed potatoes and eat them all.... but, if you are patient, this baby pays off!
Serve with a white wine vinegar/lemon salad or another fresh vegetable.
Rouille (Garlic Aioli):
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp tomato paste
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds unpeeled baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 pound kale, center rib and stem cut from each leaf, leaves coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme - you can use dried too
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For rouille: Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. Season rouille to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
For cakes: Cook potatoes in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to same saucepan. Add milk and butter. Mash potatoes (with peel) until smooth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 3 cups mashed potatoes to large bowl and cool (reserve remaining potatoes for another use - I used mine for breakfast and put them on an english muffin!)
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add kale and thyme. Toss until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Add kale mixture, nutmeg to potatoes - salt and pepper to taste; blend. Cool potato mixture 30 minutes.
After the long awaited wait, shape potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cakes and cook, without moving, until cakes are brown and crispy on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over. Cook until brown on bottom, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to plates. Top each cake with dollop of rouille.