Polpette of Potato with Avocado, Red Onion and Cucumber Salad

This recipe is a personal favorite of Chef Michael Chiarello.


  • 1 1/2 lbs. Idaho® Potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
  • 4 oz. Red onion
  • 1/2 cup Cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried oregano
  • 2 oz. Mozzarella cheese slice, quartered
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 12 oz. Cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut diagonally into 1/4" thick crescents
  • 2 Medium ripe, Fresh California Avocados, cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1 Large, ripe tomato, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 Small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Cover potatoes in large pot with salted water. Bring to boil over high heat; cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well; scatter on a baking sheet; let cool several minutes and place in oven to dry, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Put through ricer or large holes of box grater.
  3. Put dried potatoes in bowl; season with salt and pepper. While potatoes are in oven, cut onion into quarters, slice thinly for 1"-long pieces. Place in non-reactive bowl with vinegar and oregano; let stand 15 minutes. Divide potatoes into 8, 2-oz. balls. Pick up one in palm of hand, top with 1/2-oz. cheese and cover with second potato ball. Press and shape potato around cheese to form cake. (May be prepared ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day prior to cooking.)
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat, or in electric frying pan set at 350°F. Cook polpette until brown and crispy on both sides, about 20 minutes. While polpettes are cooking, make salad.
  5. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste into onion-vinegar mixture. Add cucumber, avocados and tomato; toss well. Arrange a nest of lettuce on each of 4 plates. Spoon salad over each nest and top with a polpette. Spoon additional dressing over all.
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Yield: 4 servings

Michael Chiarello
Real American Restaurants
Sausalito, Calif.

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