Monday, 29 July 2013
I wish you could smell my house right now. It smells just gorgeous . . . like butter and fried onions . . . very scrummy indeed. I wanted to share something today which really isn't a recipe so much as it is a memory combined with a technique . . . a combination which is always quite delicious . . .
We had company on Friday evening and I served Raclette. In other words, I made my guests cook their own dinner, but that was ok. They did not mind at all. We always have it with boiled baby new potatoes. I did cook rather a lot . . . just in case (as you do), and I ended up with quite a bit leftover.
I found myself staring at them in the refrigerator today and thinking to myself . . . what would Nigel do . . . Nigel is the master at taking a few ingredients to hand and creating something wonderfully delicious with them. In one of his earlier cookbooks (Real Food) I found a recipe where he had used waxy potatoes and slow cooked them, thinly sliced with onions and garlic, in butter until they were golden brown and then he banged some cheese on top.
And then I remembered the fried potatoes my mother used to make. She didn't make them often, so when she did they were a real treat. We loved them. I have fond memories of the sight and smell of my mother standing over the stove and frying us potatoes for supper.
She would melt a large knob of butter in a frying pan and then she would fry slices of cold boiled potatoes in the butter until they were gilded with butter and golden brown, crisp at every edge, with nothing more than some salt and pepper to flavour them . . .
Oh boy, but they were good . . . the edges all crisp and buttery, but the insides still meltingly tender and potato-ee . . . she could never make enough. We loved them so very much. And so . . . I decided to make mom's fried potatoes, except I added a chopped onion and some leftover diced pancetta to the pan along with a nice knob of butter . . . and then sliced the potatoes in, about 1/4 inch thick and unpeeled (because I am rather lazy you know . . . ) I sprinkled them with sea salt and black pepper and a bit of savory. I stood there turning them as they browned and thinking about what a labour of love that was for my mother to make those potatoes for us and how very much we enjoyed them . . . with the smell of crisping and buttery onions filling the air . . .
And then I pulled a leaf of inspiration from Nigel's book and I tore up some leftover Reblochon cheese from the other night and scattered it over top of the hot potatoes . . . allowing it to melt and ooze into all of the nooks and crannies and crevices . . . not something mom would have done, but I had it, and it wasn't cheap and it needed to be used too . . .
And so we feasted on buttery, cheesy and crispy golden pan fried potatoes, accompanied with gently warmed leftover brisket, buttered rolls and pickled beets. A meal fit for a King . . . and this Queen. And we died and went to heaven . . . the scent of which is still tantalizing us, and will probably accompany us throughout the evening on into bed time.
I can think of much worse things . . . can't you?