Often we prepare our potatoes with swiftness. One [step] and done. Baked or fried or boiled. Salt, pepper, butter or mustard or sour cream. Quick and ready to eat.
Consider a different, slower, more complex, but oh-so-good path. These potatoes are cooked twice: once in a simple boil and then roasted with oil you have flavored with herbs. Optionally, add some bacon and cheese. Maybe that’s mandatory, not optional.
The result? You will have a renewed respect for the not-so-humble potato. Pair with a good [and now expensive steak] and you have a meal worth its price.
The smashing part here is one to enlist family members in for help. Want to introduce your kids to the fine art of cooking? Give them a potato, a towel to cover the potato, and pan to flatten the potato. All those TV shows and video games they watch with violence in abundance? Give your kids some real world experience.
Herbed Crushed Potatoes
Yield: 4-5 servings of 2 potatoes each
For the oil:
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 head garlic
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 4 sprigs thyme
For the potatoes:
- 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed [medium to small size]
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ pound of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled [optional but a really good idea]
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan [also optional but brilliantly wonderful]
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Parsely or chives for garnish
Preheat oven 450°F.
To make the flavored oil, separate the garlic cloves from the head clean and gently bruise. Place garlic in olive oil with rosemary and thyme and bring to a simmer.
Remove from the heat and let sit for 20 minutes.
For the potatoes, cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, pat dry, place potato on dish towel and partially flatten (be careful to not completely crush) with hand or the back of a small pot. Place crushed potato on cookie sheet and brush liberally with flavored olive oil on both sides, season with salt and pepper.
Place in 450°F oven for 15 minutes and then turn potato over and bake for another 15 minutes, until lightly brown and crisp. Remove from oven.
Sprinkle with bacon, parmesan and parsley serve.
Source: Adapted from American Test Kitchen Television
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/50th second at ISO‑800
How are those tomato plants in your garden? Ready to harvest yet?
Don’t fret. There are these things called greenhouses, and the “hydro” something way of growing, and those states far, far to the south of New York. From those sources, via trucks burning carbon, you can have summer-prime tomatoes on your table. This weekend. Tonight.
[Ignore the carbon guilt. They have already been picked and shipped. It would be a crime to waste them.]
This salad can be a serious starting course. It can be the main course. Our tomatoes here were nearly as big as pork chops. We did not cut them quite that thick, but these were truly meaty giants that gave chewy satisfaction with the firmness of their resistance to each bite.
The combination of tomato, blue cheese and bacon is one that is common. I never tire of it, though, perhaps because I limit myself to just one or two dabbles each month. But then last night when I had this, I wondered why I don’t eat it every single day.
You can enhance flavor, and add that variety to prevent any boredom, by using one of the many gourmet salts available. A deep smoky salt, for example, is going to resonate with that blue cheese. A heavy hand with pepper will intensify the flavors and promote additional tingle your tongue.
Temperature is important here, too. The bacon crumbles should be room temperature so the flavor is not subdued, but everything else should be refrigerator cold. There is a surprise awaiting you as the cold from the tomatoes and dressing competes with the inherent “cheese heat” that blue provides.
Do look for firm, meaty tomatoes. They are out there, ready, waiting, and simply delectable.
In the picture, the biscuit is chili and cheese. Recipe to come soon!
Heirloom Tomato Stacks with Blue Cheese Dressing and Bacon Crumbles
Yield: serves 4
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ⅓-½ cup crumbled Clemson Blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives or scallion greens
- 1 bunch arugula or watercress, rinsed and spun dry
- 5-6 large heirloom tomatoes, such as Cherokee Purple, Delicious, Striped German, Brandywine(2 ½ pounds), cored and cut crosswise into ½-inch thick slices
- 4 thick bacon slices, cooked until crisp and crumbled
- Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, pepper, salt, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl with a whisk or fork.
Stir in blue cheese and chives or scallions.
Divide the arugula or watercress between 4 plates. Stack the tomatoes slices on the greens, leaning a little, and sprinkle lightly with a little more salt and pepper. Spoon the dressing on top and crumble the bacon over the tomatoes. Serve.
Source: Tomatoes by Miriam Rubin
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/40th second at ISO-640