A potato knish is one of the best food inventions of all times. Whoever thought to turn caramelized-onion mashed potatoes into something you can grab and eat, holding it in your hands, was a genius!
And now meet the mini potato knish! It’s appetizer-sized and perfect for Passover. But you don’t have to celebrate a Jewish holiday to enjoy these. I’ve made these for my New Year’s Eve party and they disappeared quickly!
WHAT IS A POTATO KNISH?
Knish is a Yiddish word meaning pastry. Knishes came to American via Jewish Immigrants in the 1800’s, so New York City (my home town) became the land of knishes. They were first sold in push carts, then knisheries and Jewish delis.
Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery is the most famous NYC destination for a potato knish. It opened in 1910 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and has been there, selling knishes, for over 100 years and counting.
Whenever I eat a potato knish or even think of one, it evokes memories from childhood. Eating a knish was not usually a planned thing. It was more like an amazing discovery that would magically appear before my eyes just when I was feeling famished.
My Dad would take me out for lunch to a Jewish deli. We’d stroll into the restaurant and suddenly dozens of knishes were before me, lined up in the deli case at my eye-level, strategically placed, I’m sure, to inspire an impulse buy.
When you’re hungry and you spot a potato knish, your dreams have come true.
I developed these appetizer spinach and potato knishes for the Idaho Potato Commission. My goal was to create an easy recipe for a bite-sized potato knish that would be delicious and festive enough for any occasion.
I’ve tested them out many times on friends and family to rave reviews. I even had the occasion to serve them on a silver platter with creme fraiche and finely minced red onion.
AN EASIER WAY TO MAKE POTATO KNISHES
These mini spinach potato knishes are inspired by the Yonah Shimmel type knishes of my childhood but they are not made in the traditional way. The more traditional potato knish recipe is quite a big undertaking. It takes about three hours because the potato filling is wrapped in dough that has to be mixed, rested, rolled, filled, shaped and baked.
For this recipe, Instead of making dough and stuffing it with potato filling, I added a small amount of flour (or matzo meal for Passover) right in with the filling, just enough to hold the knishes together and give them that authentic potato knish taste without compromising the fluffy texture.
POTATO KNISHES – PREP AHEAD
- These mini knishes are best served warm and fresh from the oven.
- If you want to do some of the prep work in advance, the potato-spinach mixture can be made up to a day ahead and kept covered in the fridge.
- Roll, shape and bake the knishes just before serving.
These delicious knishes are a perfect appetizer for Passover but, as I already said and want to emphasize, you don’t have to celebrate a Jewish holiday to enjoy them. Everyone should have the pleasure of eating potato knishes – they are very special!
Here’s the mini spinach potato knish appetizer recipe. If you make these I hope you’ll come back and leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think.Print
Mini Spinach Potato Knish Appetizer
Baked Mini Spinach Potato Knishes are great little appetizers and the dough can be made ahead
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Yield: 50 mini knishes 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Cuisine: Polish
- 2 pounds Idaho® russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (4 medium)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil, such as canola
- 2 tablespoons butter or schmaltz (chicken fat)
- 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced (1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup matzo meal or all purpose flour
- 5 ounces spinach leaves, slivered or roughly chopped
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup finely minced red onion, optional
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and set oven racks in the top and bottom of the oven.
- Place potatoes and 2 teaspoons salt in a pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Bring to a boil, then gently boil for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, mash well, and set aside to cool.
- Heat oil and butter (or schmaltz) over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, to brown. Scrape onions into the bowl of a food processor. (Don’t clean the skillet – you’ll use it for the spinach.) Add eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the onions and pulse several times until the onions are finely chopped. Scrape the onion-egg mixture into the bowl with the potatoes. Add matzoh meal. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the chopped spinach to the skillet and sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until wilted (a minute or two) Add to the potato mixture and stir through. The dough is now ready to make into knishes or, if you’re prepping ahead, roll into a ball, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. If you chill the dough, let it sit out for 30 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
- Spray or lightly oil two baking sheet pans. Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of potato mixture, roll it into a ping-pong sized ball, place it on the prepared pan. Repeat until you’ve used up all the potato mixture. You should get about 50 pieces. Push your thumb down on the center of each ball to flatten it slightly and make a depression – similar to how you’d make thumbprint cookies.
- Bake knishes for 30 minutes in the top and bottom of the oven, switching the position of the trays half way through. Turn the oven up to broil and let the top tray brown for 2-3 minutes. Remove it and set the other tray on the top shelf and let it brown for 2-3 minutes.
- Set knishes out on a platter or serving tray. Dollop a little sour cream in the center of each knish and serve.