Just to refresh, these last several posts, and most of the ones coming this year are from a modest book of food notes I put together. They are mostly about saving time (and occasionally not) around processing and preserving whole foods — shortcuts and tasty innovations I wish someone else had passed on to me long ago. This previous post gives much more context.
So, here’s something simple but almost epic to do with new potatoes, those first potatoes you unearth or find at the farmer’s markets right about now. Make this lavish recipe in summer and early fall. It’s not instant, but takes very little active kitchen time. A moist yellow potato such as Carola or Satina is ideal here. Makes 2 cups mashed, or 1 cup fried.
Prep time: Mashed, 30 min. Fried, add about 5 passive hours.
3 cups of roughly 2” chunks of potato, of a moist variety
6 T. extra virgin olive oil
⅛ tsp coarse sea salt (really — not too much, new potatoes have a delectable sweetness)
1 small clove garlic
10 grinds black pepper, preferably Tellicherry
Steam the potatoes until they press easily with a fork. Meanwhile, assemble remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the potatoes as soon as they are cooked. Potatoes seize up as they sit after cooking, and will never properly absorb the other ingredients if not blended right away. Gently toss the potatoes, breaking and partly mashing so that the oil is well incorporated.
They are now sumptuous and ready to serve. If there are leftovers, or if you just want to move on to the next stage, refrigerate. A couple of hours before intending to eat, take the cold potatoes, now very stiff, and lay ¾-1” thick slices into a heavy ungreased skillet; the potatoes are carrying plenty of oil in reserve.
Once in the pan, it is fine to press them roughly into one big slab of about even thickness. The thinner they are spread, the more crispy-to-soft the ratio will be. Set on the stove over low heat. If there is no gentle sizzling sound after 20 minutes, turn up the heat slightly. The mission is to slowly brown the bottom side of the mass. That will be somewhere around 60-90 minutes. It won’t hurt at all if it takes longer, the flavor is intensifying as well. Once it is a good medium-dark golden brown, flip it, in as few pieces as possible. It should hold together fairly well.
Continue cooking until the second side is golden and crispy. This will be considerably less time than the first. Trying to hurry the cooking will result in very dark bits on the outside and pale regular potato on the inside. We are going for something like a giant ½” thick, chewy, crunchy potato chip. Very slow cooking is essential. But hovering over it is not. As soon as you know the temperature is just right, go do something else and just keep an eye on the clock.
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Laurie Goodhart and her husband co-founded and operated two certified organic artisanal goat fromageries, Nettle Meadow in Warrensburg, NY from 1990 to 2005 and Domaine De Courval in Waterville, Quebec from 2006 to 2017. She created and trademarked the multiple award-winning cheese, Kunik. For more about her how her life experience brought her to develop time-saving ways to eat as much nutrient-dense food from her local environment as possible, see this previous post
Goodhart lives in upstate NY and continues her work as a professional artist and avid home gardener. Since 2007 she has devoted most of her studio time to an extensive body of work collected under the concept, Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite.
Laurie can be reached through her website, lauriegoodhart.net