Monday, December 10, 2012

Potatoes & Parsley

Or storage shares and the end of the fresh herbs.

My freezer and other storage areas for food have gotten awfully full at the end of the bumper crop fall – all that sunny weather at the end.  And now I need to get out the row-boat and boots because boy-o-boy is it raining.

So I’m on a kick to use what I have in and around the house – and I currently have a thing for savory sour.  Spanish food is a fun place to look – and somewhere I haven’t looked much.  The storage shares of potatoes and onions from my CSA work in the Spanish milieu, as does the determined, but rapidly drowning parsley in my herb pots.
It might be a little weedy... and mossy,
but I can tell which is the parsley.
Now if you look up this sort of recipe on the internet (and elsewhere) it will be “Papas something.”  One of the most famous versions of this sort of roasted (and sautéed) potato dish is Papas Bravos, potatoes served with a spicy garlicky mayonnaise type sauce (an aioli technically).
Lots of others have tomato based sauces – spicy or mild , and most of the rest have an herby element.   And that is what I’m really after here.  Warm and cozy roasted potatoes with deep flavors, and a little kick at the end – today sour, maybe later spicy.

Since I am working in my kitchen, I have lots of the wrong ingredients.  In this case – Ponzu Sauce.  I used it at the end because my potatoes needed a little more seasoning, a little more of a savory flavor, and a last kick of sour.  Don’t have Ponzu sauce, don’t know what it is?  Don’t let the fancy names intimidate you.  It is basically soy sauce and lime juice, and you can easily sub that in – or any tart citrus.

Now lets get cooking!

Spanish Style Potatoes
(Use up the parsley version - and if you have cilantro, basil, spinach or arugula cluttering up your fridge use them instead)

large pan for the oven
sauté pan for the sauce
spatula for stirring
cutting board
fork – for testing potatoes and eating it all up.

3 medium – large potatoes
1 medium onion (or ½ a big huge one)
salt & pepper
cider vinegar
a whole bunch of parsley (a big handful?)
Ponzu Sauce (the secret ingredient!)
Turn on the oven to 425˚F.
Wash your potatoes vigorously if they need it.
Chop them into chunks about the size of the top joint of your thumb.  (I made some of my pieces too big, and they had tasty outsides but bland insides).  Place them on the large pan, drizzle with 1-2 tsp of oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss with clean hands until they are all coated.
Toss them in the oven – set the timer to 20 minutes.
Turn to the onion.  Cut it in half through the root end.  Peel off the outer dry layers. Make 2 or 3 cuts from near the root end to the tip.  Cut the onion into slices about the width of your pinky.
Rinse the parsley and pull the leaves off the big central stem.  Chop the parsley roughly.

Place your sauté pan over medium high heat for about 3 minutes with 1-2 tsp of oil in it.  When a small piece of onion sizzles merrily, the pan is hot.  Add in all the onion and a pinch of salt to help the onions sweat.  (Just a little, you’ll adjust for salt and pepper at the end.)
Stir the onions over the heat.  They should be getting translucent and soft, not really brown (if the edges are blackening, turn down the heat a little!) 

Somewhere in here – the potato timer is going to go off.   When it does, stab one with a fork, and bring it out of the oven.  Cut it in half with a fork, and blow on it until it is cool.  Try a bite.  If it is still a bit crunchy and raw, the potatoes may need up to 15 more minutes (but start with 10).  If the potato is almost done – but not quite – try 5 more.  And if the edges are brown, one surface crispy and puffed, and the inside is soft and fluffy – your potatoes are done.  So cook your potatoes ‘til they get there. 
When they do.  Take them out of the oven and put them to the side.

Back to the onions.  When they get soft and translucent, open a window or turn on a fan.  Then pour in about 1/4C of the cider vinegar.  Cook it down until most of the liquid is gone. 
(Did you add the vinegar without turning on a fan?  Bet you wish you had.)
When the onions are shiny and damp (rather than swimming in a pool of liquid), toss in the parsley, and stir it into the onions.  Then turn the heat to low, and stir in the hot potatoes. 

Taste one.  Add pepper and maybe a little salt if it really bland.
Then break out the Ponzu Sauce, and add about a teaspoon.  Stir it in.  Taste.  Repeat until you have savory, sour potatoes.

Serve with something else yummy.

(A Spanish tortilla, which is a sort of omelet, is nice.  Or spicy sausage and lentils – maybe with a little shrimp?     It makes for a great base to a hash – and the leftovers are great too.)

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