Pancetta Roasted Potatoes (4)

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These potatoes are for an occasional treat as they are roasted in the drippings from slices of pancetta. It is an Umbrian way of roasting potatoes. Traditionally, the cooking in that region of Italy is based on local, seasonal foods with absolutely nothing going to waste. I sourced the pancetta from an Italian food shop and asked for it to be sliced quite thickly. It is placed on a slatted baking rack above the potatoes. The fat drips out of the pancetta onto the potatoes and they soak up some of the slightly smoked flavor of the pancetta which itself dries out and becomes like crackling. Serve each person with potatoes topped with the crackling. Goes well with roast pork or chicken.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

4 x thickish slices of pancetta

1 pound waxy potatoes (Yukon Gold or new potatoes) – cut into bite-size chunks

Put the potatoes in a metal roasting dish and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place a rack over the potatoes and lay the pancetta slices on it.

Cook for about 45 minutes until potatoes are nicely browned. Turn the potatoes over periodically.

Serve immediately while pancetta is still crisp, placing pancetta over a portion of potatoes.

 

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Potatoes Boulangeres (serves 4)

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Potatoes Boulangeres are the poor relative to Potatoes Dauphinoises. They are made with broth instead of cream and cheese but are nonetheless a classic potato dish that pairs very well with lamb. Boulangere is French name for a baker and in the olden days, after the baker had made his bread it was traditional to let the local residents use his oven to cook their various homemade dishes.

You could use a mandolin to prepare the potatoes and onions but I used the slicer attachment to my food processor.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Olive oil for greasing ovenproof dish and for brushing the top layer of potatoes

2 large onions – peeled and sliced in food processor

2 large baking potatoes- peeled and sliced in food processor

1 cup veg/beef broth

Oil an ovenproof dish.

Place a layer of onion on the bottom of the dish and season with salt and pepper.

Next place a layer of potatoes on top of the onion and season.

Continue layering and seasoning finishing up with a layer of potatoes.

Pour over the broth.

Brush the potatoes with olive oil

Cook for some 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork – but not too soft else bottom layer will be soggy.

Lemon and Parsley Potato Cakes (4)

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Another way with potatoes and these are particularly good with a firm white fish such as cod or haddock or, if you want to push the boat out, swordfish. Only the zest of a lemon is used and mixed with the chopped parsley, then mashed into the potatoes with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  The potato mixture is then made into smallish patties shapes and pan fried on the stove top.

2 large baking potatoes – cut into dice

2 tbsp. olive oil + extra for frying

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil potatoes until soft enough to mash, then drain.

Add the lemon zest and parsley to the potatoes and mash with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Take 1 tbsp. of potato mixture and shape it into a cake.

Heat some oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the potato cakes and brown nicely on each side.

 

 

Rosti Potatoes (4)

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A two ingredient recipe – potatoes and oil – albeit the potatoes have to be grated either using a food processor attachment or more laboriously, by hand. Rosti, basically a potato cake, is a Swiss dish and, indeed, many Swiss think of it as their National Dish.

Potatoes are starchy so, after grating, they need a good rinse in a colander and then drying in a clean T-towel. While cooking rosti it is important to be on hand to squash down the potatoes and watch to check when they are translucent and softening. Serve in slices.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x baking potatoes – grated

Heat 1 tbsp. of seasoned oil in a frying pan and when sizzling (you want a fairly high heat to start with and then can turn it down a little) add the grated potato and squash down with a large spatula and cook for around 10 minutes until potatoes are translucent and softened and the bottom side should be browned by then. Loosen the rosti with a palate knife or spatula and turn on to plate. Add the second tbsp. of oil and let it heat up again. Return rosti to pan uncooked side down for another 10 minutes or so. Remove rosti from the pan onto a serving platter and cut into slices.

 

 

A Verdant Salad (4)

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This is a lovely, colorful, healthy salad and you can take a big pan of boiling water and use the same pan to cook all the vegetables one after the other. You really have to be in the kitchen for this recipe to keep an eye on the veggies as they want to be ‘al dente’. Serve with vinaigrette of your choice or mayonnaise.

4 oz baby asparagus -cut the bottom ends off

4 oz French green beans (the thin ones) – topped and tailed

4 oz yellow waxed beans – topped and tailed

4 oz snowpeas/mangetout

8 baby potatoes

2 eggs

1/2 can of hearts of palm – chopped into pieces

4 anchovies – chopped into pieces (optional)

Place asparagus into boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, remove from pan and place on paper towel to cool and absorb any water.

Repeat with green beans, waxed beans and snowpeas – cooking them one after the other.

Place potatoes and eggs in the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.

Arrange veg. on a platter with the hard-boiled eggs (cut into 1/8ths) and hearts of palm.

Scatter pieces of anchovies over the veg.

 

Jo’s Ratatouille (4)

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Loads of veg. in this. Not a true ratatouille (to my mind just as good but different). And the addition of potatoes, so a one pot meal. Good for vegetarians and vegans, but also a side dish.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 a large onion – chopped

2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped (or I grate mine)

1 cup veg. stock/broth

2 zucchini/courgettes – sliced and quartered

1/2 dry pint of cherry tomatoes – halved

4 oz. French green beans – topped and tailed, cut into halves or thirds

8 oz. roasted red peppers – cut into small pieces (bought mine in a jar)

8 oz. baby potatoes – cut into quarters

Heat oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper in large skillet/frying pan.

When sizzling add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened and going brown.,

Add broth/stock, zucchini/courgettes/cherry tomatoes, French beans and red peppers.

Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cook new potatoes separately in  a pan of boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Add to veggies and serve (fairly good cold too).

 

Chicken Hash (serves 2)

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Finding myself with leftovers from a roast chicken, I pulled all the meat from the carcass and chopped it up into small pieces and as there was only enough for 2 hearty portions I used 1/4 of an onion (finely chopped), a clove of garlic (grated) and 1/2 a large baking potato (cut into small dice).

Poured one tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper into skillet/frying pan and when sizzling added onion and garlic. When onion was starting to brown I added the potatoes and cooked for a few minutes until they started to go brown. Then I added the chicken and some red pepper flakes to spice things up and cooked for a further 15 minutes.