The other night I was thinking of what to have for dinner that didn’t consist of pasta. Nic and I tend to eat A LOT of pasta when living in Italy, it just feels right. Anyway, we must of over indulged in the early weeks because the comment was voiced rather loudly from the boys that perhaps we could have something OTHER than pasta? This is quite an amazing request seeing as it is on the boys ‘go to list’ when asked what their favourite food is.
And just on a side note, I hate it when people ask my kids that question because their instant reaction without even thinking is to blurt out- ‘pizza, pasta, burgers and hot dogs!’….that’s right, just because I’m a chef doesn’t mean my kids aren’t like millions of other kids who love the above list and will eat it at the drop of a hat if required on a day to day basis……they forget about the beef satays with peanut sauce that they can’t help but lick the plate or the roast veggie and lentil soup I make every winter that has them running to the table.
OK I’ll move on now.
Whenever I order potatoes in a European country (actually I have to exclude Amsterdam, I’ve always had great potatoes there!), they always are diced (big, medium or small), have been fried; be it shallow fried or deep fried and always, always pre-cooked a few hours before the restaurant doors are open and served reheated, lukewarm from the oven. Just once I would like to have the potatoes when they have been fried and served HOT from the kitchen within 5 minutes of them being cooked.
It was this thought that came to mind as I was peering into my potato/onion and garlic drawer deciding how to start dinner.
Everyone seems to love potatoes cooked one way or another and the more I cook of this variety, the less I seem to eat (thanks to the little boys that fill their tummies first!) If your kitchen is limited like mine then these are the perfect accompaniment to just about any dish, I even cooked some up at the olive grove last visit and they were gone before the adults sat down for dinner.
Basically, you skin 4-5 potatoes, dice each potato into the size you like (just remember the larger you leave them, the longer they will take to cook), wipe the excess starch off the potato with paper towel then grab your largest frying pan, add a generous glug of good olive oil (NOT extra virgin) and place on a medium burner on medium to high heat. Once the oil starts to warm add your diced potatoes and begin shallow frying. I also add a generous pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper at this point and give the potatoes a good toss.
After about 5 minutes I then add 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced (sometimes a thinly sliced shallot for flavour) and two sticks of rosemary. Keep on tossing your potatoes occasionally so they cook evenly and watch the temperature isn’t on full pelt otherwise you will have dark potatoes before they are soft and delicious on the inside, the whole process usually takes about 15- 20 minutes if your dice is small/medium.
I must warn you, smell travels fast and neighbours may pop in unexpectedly so it’s always best to make extra. These are great for a snack, or served with steak, chicken, veggies, pork…the list goes on.
I served ours with a zucchini and Tuscan sausage dish I came up with that could be cooked in one pot (again I have a very limited kitchen in the pots department and even more limits on bench space but more about that another time.