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Arsip Tag: crispy
Several years ago, a harebrained idea to make a wedding cake for friends led to me sharing a picture of the cake layers stacked up in my freezer, ready for their big debut. You’d think people would comment on the cake, right? Nope. More like: “You have an empty freezer. You have an empty freezer. How?” “I didn’t know it was possible to empty a freezer.” And I was all “People have full freezers? We just use it for vodka and ice cube trays.” Oh Deb of 2008. Come see your circa-2016 freezer and witness the havoc 8 years and 2 kids have wreaked on it.
Vodka? Used it up to make vanilla extract. Ice cube tray? Currently empty as we use a bag we bought for a party and are too distracted to make more. The freezer these days is something you open an inch at a time, so no blocks of baby food, soup stock, ice packs, monkey-shaped ice packs for boo boos, teething rings, bread and boxed frozen things (fish sticks, mini pizza bagels, zucchini pancakes) for lunchboxes fall on your feet. Sure, there’s lovely stuff like a tray of mac-and-cheese and a chocolate babka, but the are in equal measure with potstickers and tortellini.
I hadn’t once, not even for a single second, considered the intersection of potstickers and tortellini until two months ago, when I caught a post on one of the longest-running and least assuming food blogs on the internet, Ideas In Food, in which they said they’d experimented by cooking frozen tortellini like potstickers and really liked the crispy results. Whaa? You know it took me about 24 hours to try this out and about .24 of a bite to be completely and totally jealous of my son’s dinner. Crispy tortellini are everything.
The usual approach to cooking frozen potstickers involves browning them, still frozen, in a hot skillet and then splashing in some water, covering them with a lid and letting them steam for a few minutes more until they’re perfect — crisp at the bottom, hot all the way through.* Of course, you can just do as we did the first time — warm up a little tomato sauce in a dish for easy dipping. But once I realized we were going to be making a habit out of these, I couldn’t resist playing a little, this time with creamed, minty peas and prosciutto, which takes all of 4 minutes extra (bringing the prep total of this meal to approximately 12 minutes) and basically looks like it came out of a restaurant kitchen. And not the freezer part, either.
* The reverse process — water and then browning at the end — also works, but to add lightly steamed vegetables to the mix, the former works best.
One year ago: Not Derby Pie Bars
Two years ago: Fresh Spinach Pasta
Three years ago: Essential Raised Waffles
Four years ago: Bacon Egg and Leek Risotto
Five years ago: Creme Brulee French Toasts
Six years ago: Homemade Pop Tarts and Cabbage and Lime Salad with Roasted Peanuts
Seven years ago: Buttermilk Ice Cream and A Trip to the Ranch
Eight years ago: Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Nine years ago: Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing
1.5 Years Ago: Sticky Toffee Pudding
2.5 Years Ago: Perfect Uncluttered Chicken Stock
3.5 Years Ago: Granola-Crusted Nuts
4.5 Years Ago: Homesick Texan Carnitas
Finally, I can just about guarantee that you will not regret if you double this recipe. The pancakes keep well in the fridge and can also be frozen.
- 1 cup (8 to 8 1/4 ounces) roasted and mashed winter squash
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) yogurt or sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (about 30 grams) finely grated gruyere, comte or parmesan
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- A few grinds of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- Butter or olive oil for frying pan
- 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
- A pinch or two of salt
- A few fresh sage leaves
Heat a large frying over medium-low to medium heat. Coat the bottom with butter or olive oil, or a combination thereof, and spoon in pancake batter, a heaped soup spoon or scant 1/4 cup at a time. Press the back of the batter mound to flatten the pancake slightly. Cook until golden brown underneath, flip and then cook until the color until golden brown on the second side. If this is happening very fast, lower your heat. If you’re worried pancakes have not cooked in the center, you can finish them for 10 minutes in a 250 degrees oven. You can also keep your pancakes warm there until needed. Repeat with remaining batter.
To finish, wipe out frying pan and place butter, a pinch or two of salt and sage leaves back in it, heating over medium. The sage leaves will crisp and the butter will brown in a minute or two so keep a close watch on it. Pour leaves and butter over pancakes and quickly understand why you’ll never have them another way.
To roast squash: For butternut or kabocha, I halve the squash, scoop out the seeds and roast it face-down on an oiled baking sheet that I’ve sprinkled with coarse salt at 375 for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender. I get about 2 cups mashed squash from one 2-pound (i.e. small-medium) whole squash. If yours is already peeled and in, say, 1-inch chunks, it will likely be tender in just 25 minutes (just updated after rechecking my notes).
One of the many things I like about this dish is that I think it could potentially be made with all lamb or all lentils. I didn’t find that the lentils got crisp, however, but firm small ones add a great texture.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (from a scant 1 cup dried)
- 8 to 10 cup-shaped leaves from 1 medium head bibb or butter lettuce
- Tomato-cucumber “relish” salad
- Lemon-tahini dressing, with or without yogurt, or 1 cup plain yogurt, seasoned with salt and pepper
- A couple tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and mint, or a mixture thereof
Crispy lamb and lentils
To assemble: Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter and divide lamb-lentil mixture between them. Top with yogurt, tahini, or yogurt-tahini sauce, tomato-cucumber relish and herbs. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.
To make a tomato-cucumber “relish” salad: Chop a handful of tomatoes and 1 large or a few smaller cucumbers into very small pieces. Finely chop 1/4 a medium red onion. Mix vegetables and onion in a bowl and dress to taste with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. No matter how much it looks like, I promise it will be gone before the end of the meal.
To make a lemony-tahini yogurt dressing: Whisk 4 tablespoons well-stirred tahini in the bottom of a bowl. Whisk in the juice of 3/4 of a lemon, 1 minced garlic clove and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Whisk in 2/3 cup plain yogurt, about 1/4 at a time, until smooth. Season with salt. Adjust everything to taste.
To make a lemony-tahini no-yogurt (so not thick and creamy, but still full of flavor) dressing: Combine 1/2 cup well-stirred tahini, 1 minced garlic clove, juice of 1 lemon, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl. Whisk in water as needed to loosen, you’ll likely need a few tablespoons. Season well with salt and pepper.
If you’d like to keep this dish, and meatballs, dairy-free, you can replace the 1/4 cup plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons of water, bringing the water in the meatballs to 1/4 cup. And of course skip the salted lemon yogurt at the end.
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound (455 grams) ground turkey
- 1/2 cup panko, or another plain, dry breadcrumb
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, hot paprika, or red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint leaves, or a mix thereof, plus more to garnish
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 3/4 of a lemon)
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- Toasted pita wedges
- Harissa or another hot sauce
Meanwhile, make meatball mixture. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a fork or (my recent discovery) a potato masher to mix. Form into 1.75-inch meatballs; I use a #40 cookie scoop, which holds about 1 2/3 tablespoons.
Remove sheet pan with chickpeas from the oven (leave oven on) and move the chickpeas to the sides of the pan, clearing a space in the center. Lightly coat center with a thin coat of oil, either brush or spray it on, just to be safe. Add meatballs to oiled area, not touching. Place baking sheet in oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
Meanwhile, toss remaining onion slices with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Combine yogurt with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
When meatballs are cooked, scatter remaining fresh herbs over the tray. Serve with lemony onions and yogurt, toasted pita wedges and hot sauce. Repeat as often as needed.
Prepare noodles: Meanwhile, place noodles in a large bowl; pour hot water over to cover. Don’t worry if they break a little; shorter noodles (even 6″ lengths) are common for pad thai. Let it soak for 10 minutes, after which they should be pliable but too al dente to enjoy without further cooking; longer soaks will turn the noodles mushy in the pan. Drain and set noodles aside.
Prepare the sauce: Stir together fish sauce, tamarind, brown sugar, and chili powder. Taste and adjust the flavor balance until it suits you, and it will almost certainly require some adjusting because ingredient intensity varies between brands. Ideally you’re looking for something salty followed by a mild sourness, a little sweetness, and a little lick of heat. You will add more heat and acidity at the end. Set this aside.
Crisp the tofu: Heat a large frying pan or a wok over high for a full minute, then add a tablespoon or two of oil and let this heat for a full minute too, and then add tofu cubes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook them until browned underneath, then use a thin spatula to turn them and cook some more, until all sides are golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels, and season while hot with a little salt and chili powder, to taste.
Cook the pad thai: Add another generous glug oil to the hot pan and, once very hot, cook garlic, shallots, and radishes for a minute, until they take on a little edge of color. Add noodles and sauce and cook until noodles absorb sauce, if needs longer to soften (you can use the edge of your spatula to try to cut them to get an idea if it’s still too firm), you can add 2 tablespoons water at a time until they’re fully cooked. You can break your noodles into shorter chunks, if you desire, with your spatula. Add half your bean sprouts and garlic chives (reserving the rest for garnishes) and toss to combine.
Push to the side, add crack your egg into empty part of pan. When halfway cooked, start scrambling, then mix into noodles. Add crispy tofu back to pan now, and toss to combine. Transfer to plate.
To finish: Around the rim, leave extra garnishes in a little piles. Squeeze lime juice over before eating (it really wakes it up).
Tamarind: This is the sticky brown acidic pulp from the pod of a tree of the pea family — it provides the signature faint sourness of pad thai. It comes in paste, and concentrate; I used the latter. Paste is the most common. To use it, reconstitute 1 part of the paste in 2 parts of water, and stir until combined. Typically, people add water to tamarind concentrate as well to use it in recipes, but I’m having us add water to the pan as needed to cook the noodles instead. Some people don’t like the intensity of tamarind. Pim says that if this is you, you use less and add white vinegar. Other swaps I’ve seen suggested online: a mixture of lime juice and brown sugar; a dab of ketchup (look, I’m just reporting here!) plus lime juice or plain vinegar.
Using other proteins: Almost all pad thai, even the most common with shrimp, has some tofu in it, usually a couple of tablespoons pressed tofu that comes in small blocks, which you can find at many Asian grocery stores. Here I’m calling for firm or extra-firm, which come in water and are easier to find, and making it the star of the show. If you’d like to use shrimp here instead, I’d estimate 6 medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined, per serving, and you can par-cook it with the garlic, shallot, and radish in the beginning. Don’t fully cook it, it will finish with the noodles and sauce over the next few minutes. If you’d like to use chicken or pork, I’d estimate 2 ounces, chopped in rough chunks, per serving, and cook is as you would the shrimp. Want to use none of the above? An extra egg might give your pad thai all the protein you wish for. Finally, quite often, the egg is cooked along with the shrimp in the beginning but I prefer mine added closer to the end so it’s a bit more present.
Eggs: Are optional in pad thai. In Thailand, they’ll ask you when you order it whether or not you want it. Sometimes it is scrambled in, other times a paper-thin omelet is poured made and the pad thai is wrapped inside it, like a crepe. I’ll save that for Pad Thai for Intermediates.
Palm sugar: Is the standard sweetener in pad thai, not brown sugar, but on this, I defaulted to what was already in my pantry. I think coconut sugar could be a good swap too. Palm sugar often comes in semi-solid blocks; you’ll want to scrape some off and warm it in the microwave or over another heat and it will loosen. For pad thai sauce, cooks will often melt the palm sugar in a pan and add the other sauce ingredients, just to warm them until liquefied. For palm sugar, you’ll want to use a bit more for the same level of sweetness; I’d use 3 teaspoons for every 2 here, but of course you’ll adjust this to taste too. Finally, palm sugar these days can be purchased in granulated form.
Fish sauce: Is salty and a little funky, and is the magic ingredient is so many of our favorite dishes. Between brands and even countries where its manufactured, saltiness and funkiness vary a lot. Vietnamese fish sauce is usually considered sweeter/less salty than Thai. Red Boat is one of the most popular; I had MegaChef and Squid brands around — the latter is probably the strongest/saltiest I tried. I haven’t tested it out, but vegetarian fish sauce is available. Here is a brand with good reviews; it sounds like you’ll want to use more to get the same intensity.
Sweet preserved radish: This provides a unique chewy sour/salty sweet flavor throughout in slightly crunchy bits I really enjoy it here, but I do think your pad thai can still taste good without it, you just might find you need a little more of the other sweet ingredients, such as tamarind and palm or brown sugar.
Shallots: I only spotted these in a minority of the recipes I perused, but made mine with and without them, and liked them here. I felt that the cooked shallot + pad thai sauce faintly reminded me of the preserved radish flavor, too, so definitely worth including if you can’t find the radishes. If you don’t have a shallot and are using the green part of scallions instead of garlic chives, might you use the white parts as you’d use the shallot here? Oh, I like the way you think.
Bean sprouts: Are crunchy and fantastic here. If you can’t find or get them, I bet shredded white cabbage or very thin juliennes of napa cabbage might provide a similarly refreshing crunch. I’d barely cook them.
No matter how much spinach it looks like when you put it on, I promise, it’s not too much. We all know the jokes about spinach, right? You’ll be glad you heaped it all the way to the toppling over point.
This makes two 12-inch round or one 13×18 (half-sheet) thin-crusted pizza
- Olive oil
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- 1 fully risen pizza dough or about a 2/3 volume of my lazy fitted-to-your-schedule favorite or your favorite, whichever it may be
- 2 ounces (2/3 cup) grated gruyere or comte cheese
- 2 ounces pecorino cheese, chopped into mixed-sized rubble or 2/3 cup grated
- 4 ounces mozzarella, either torn into shreds, diced, or (as shown) in ciliegine
- 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced or grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 to 9 ounces fresh spinach, larger stems removed
Coat either 1 13×18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan or 2 12-inch round pizza pans lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Use your fingers to stretch dough to the edges of the pan(s). If it puts up a lot of resistance, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, and resume working the dough to the sides.
Top dough(s) with cheeses, a few grinds of black pepper, and garlic. Heap spinach all over; season with salt. Bake pizza until spinach is wilted and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and drizzle with olive oil. Cut and serve immediately.
It’s really unfortunate timing, because we’ve got a long year to go and I at one point had many great and luminous cooking plans for it, but they’re all cancelled now because on the afternoon of January 4th, before 2019 had really even kicked in, I ate the best thing I had or will all year or maybe ever — because what would the internet be without some unnecessary melodrama — and I threw it together from a mess of leftovers in my fridge.
Don’t you hate it when those lifestyle guru-types tell you about the meals they threw together from their leftovers, which just happen to be in tip-top shape, chromatically balanced, and Instagram-perfect. In real life, or at least mine, leftovers are a lot of Let’s Never Speak About That Again, the best of intentions cut short by poor planning, the now shamed and guilt-ridden humans responsible for the disgrace vowing to do better by that murky bag of herbs and liquefied cucumber next time.
But not last week. Last week, on January 1st, I made David Chang’s Bo Ssam, something I do once a year or so when I want to make a jaw-dropping feast for a crowd with exactly three ingredients (pork shoulder, salt, sugar) even a person living through the aftereffects of an evening of daquiris can handle. Of course, because most three-ingredient recipes are a lie, there are a few other things you make to serve with it: a Ssam sauce (it’s like a vinaigrette), a ginger-scallion sauce (a riff on the classic Cantonese sauce), rice, and I always like to serve it with marinated julienned carrots and thinly sliced cucumbers so needless to say, these leftovers were well above-average. Bo Ssam makes a lot; we ate it on the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd before we were finally out of pork, but I still had a smidge left of everything else so for lunch on that 4th day of the year, I put it all in a bowl and topped it with a crispy fried egg.
But first, I crisped the rice. The world of crisped, stuck-pot, scorched, fried, bimbimbap-ed, tahdig-ed and socarrat rice is vast and nuanced and fascinating and I’m not going to even try to do it justice here, but what they all have in common, what they all know, is that cooked rice that’s been allowed to crisp is a glorious thing. My favorite — short-grain brown or white rice — is particularly good at this, starchy and thick enough to be both crackly edged and tender-centered in a single grain. (What a showoff.) It, apparently, smells like popcorn when you cook it.
I have told every single person I’ve seen or spoken to since about how amazing this lunch was (their eyes mostly glazed over, it’s fine, I understand) and now it’s your turn. I’ve tried to pare it down to just the most essential parts — crispy rice, a crispy egg, and a ginger-scallion-sauce-meets-vinaigrette — plus whatever crunchy or leftover vegetables you have around. I hope it becomes your new favorite 2019 meal, too.
One year ago: Boulevardier
Two years ago: Crusty Baked Cauliflower and Farro
Three years ago: Ugly-But-Good Cookies and Swiss Chard Pancakes
Four years ago: Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake
Five years ago: Coconut Tapioca Pudding and Chicken Pho
Six years ago: Ethereally Smooth Hummus and Gnocchi in Tomato Broth
Seven years ago: Apple Sharlotka
Eight years ago: Vanilla Bean Pudding and Pizza with Bacon, Onions, and Cream
Nine years ago: Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens and Poppy Seed Lemon Cake
Ten years ago: Almond-Vanilla Rice Pudding and Light Wheat Bread
Eleven years ago: Lemon Bars and Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Twelve years ago: Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and World Peace Cookies
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Bourbon Peach Smash
1.5 Years Ago: Confetti Party Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
3.5 Years Ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto
4.5 Years Ago: Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings
If your pork shoulder has a thick fatty layer on one side, scoring can help prevent it from tightening the meat below as it shrinks. To score the fat, make shallow (1/8-inch deep) diagonal cuts in two directions a little under an inch apart in two directions, forming a diamond pattern.
Use your hands to pat the rub onto all sides of the pork — it’s going to be very thickly coated but don’t leave any rub behind. Place roast in a bowl or, if it fits in your fridge, the pan you’d like to roast it in tomorrow, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Make your mop: Combine remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, all of the cider vinegar, ketchup, black pepper, and 1/3 cup water in a bowl and whisk until sugar dissolves. You want it to be pleasantly sharp (the fatty meat will cut right through any overpowering vinegar vibe) but not quite sour. I don’t find that I need salt, but you can add some if you wish. You’ll have a little over 1 2/3 cups.
Cook your pork: The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap from pork and pour off any juices in the dish. If your pork is not in a roasting dish, transfer it to one. Cook pork for approximately 5 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily when pulled back with a fork. After the first hour, add 1/4 cup mop to juices in pan and baste the meat with it. Continue to baste once an hour with juices that collect.
Make your slaw: Quarter, core, and thinly slice your cabbage. If slices are long, I cut them into 1 to 2-inch lengths, so the slaw doesn’t end up too cumbersome to pile on a sandwich. Place in a large bowl and pour 1/3 cup mop over, toss to combine. Add mayonnaise and mix well to combine. Season with salt and more pepper, if you wish, and taste, add more mop or mayo if needed. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
To finish and serve: Once meat is cooked, you can leave it at room temperature for up to an hour and a half. Rewarm briefly in a 450 degree oven. Shred pork into bite-sized pieces, discarding any larger chunks of fat, and pouring up to 1/2 cup of reserved mop over as needed to season and keep the meat moist.
Serve pulled pork on buns with slaw, seasoning with a splash of remaining mop and/or a barbecue sauce of you choice.
Note: I suspect you’re about to ask me if you can make this roast in a slow-cooker or InstantPot. Of course you can, but it will not be the same — it doesn’t get crisp or glossy. A slow-cooker can do this in 5 to 6 hours on high; an IP in about 80 minutes at high pressure, but neither will be varnished or crisp. You could blast it in a high-heat oven to create an edge, but it’s not going to be as astounding as the one took hours to form.
I dreamed up this soup with picky eaters in mind and I know how picky eaters think because I was one. Well, am one. (Shh, don’t tell anyone. I’ve managed to keep it a secret so long.)
My first cookbook has no soup recipes because I didn’t consider myself a soup person, although this makes it sound like a failing of identity and it was really that I found soup depressingly monotonous: must every spoonful be exactly like the one before? A bowl felt a lifetime long. But my second cookbook (and my third, should I ever get to writing that thing, heh) has a big one because I finally figured out how to make soup that kept me interested: fixings. For me, when a soup is simple, it’s about the finishes. I love a salad bar of options and I love to be able to add more as I eat, so no two spoonfuls are exactly alike. This technique has come in handy with every variety of choosy eaters in my family — a husband who doesn’t like smooth soups, a son who can be convinced to eat most things if they have bacon, and a daughter who eats approximately nothing but is known to demolish bowls of kale chips and will steal the bacon off your plate without asking or expressing any level of remorse after. (She’s a cat. I gave birth to a cat.) (Although temporarily a spider.)
This soup started as a lightened-up baked potato soup, swapping beans for some of the potatoes, but it’s way more interesting than that, if you ask me. It’s perfectly cozy solo, but when you set out a little sour cream, parmesan, pancetta, and crispy kale, it’s… fun? Yes, I just called soup fun. You can make it vegetarian by skipping the pancetta, vegan by skipping the parmesan and cream (I’d use a squeeze of lemon), but more important is that no matter how you make it, you can do so quickly. We’re not soaking beans, we’re not making stock, not here, not this time. This is a 40-minutes-top soup, and it’s absolutely perfect for right now.
Good Morning America: What? Yeah, no big deal at all! I was invited to kick off Ginger Zee’s cooking club, where she’s attempting to get her (really cute) kids and husband out of their pasta-obsessed rut. I came to her house to demonstrate this recipe and also another kid favorite, the Pizza Beans from Smitten Kitchen Every Day and the kids and husband ate it all. (I came home and was like “Step it up, fam.”) You can watch me do just this on the show tomorrow (Wednesday 10/30) morning at 8:45am ET, barring any major news that bumps the segment. [Update: Indeed, some news — the worsening fires in California — bumped the segment. I’ll give you a heads-up when there’s a new air date for it. And please, be safe out there.] When there’s a link to watch it online, I’ll add it here.
Are you following SK on Instagram? Every couple Fridays (ideally, every other, but sometimes life gets in the way) I’m doing Live Story demos of a recipe from the archives. Last week, apple cider caramels, the best Halloween candy that is not storebought peanut butter cups. A week from Friday (11/8)? Not sure what I’m cooking yet, but it will be something warm and cozy.
Six months ago: Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth
One year ago: Sunken Black Forest Cake
Two years ago: Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
Three years ago: Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu
Four years ago: Baked Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Ragu and Twinkie Bundt
Five years ago: Homemade Harissa and Cauliflower Cheese
Six years ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
Seven years ago: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas and Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones
Eight years ago: Pear, Cranberry, and Gingersnap Crumble
Nine years ago: Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake and Spiced Applesauce Cake
Ten years ago: Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins and Capers and Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse
Eleven years ago: Meatballs and Spaghetti and Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad and Pink Lady Cake
Twelve years ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Thirteen years ago: Pumpkin Muffins and Easiest Baked Macaroni-and-Cheese
My love of french fries is vast and well–documented — preferably in a golden, crisp and glittering-with-fine-salt heap with some aioli, an artichoke or oysters and ice-cold, very dry champagne, outside at a bustling cafe in a life that seems a bit distant right now — so I hope you will take this statement with the utmost gravitas when I say that these crispy potatoes are as good as, if not better, than fries.
I first had a version of them at Barbuto restaurant (of the chocolate budino and kale salad fame) nearly eight years ago, and I’ve watched cooks making them in the open kitchen dozens of times since. Cold, boiled potatoes are crumbled directly into a fryer in irregular chunks and not taken out until they’re a deep golden brown. Once drained they’re tossed in a big metal bowl with salt, a lot of pecorino, and a few sprigs of fried rosemary. They are perfect, absolutely perfect.
I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to do two annoying things to make them at home: you’ll have to cook and fully chill the potatoes for several hours or overnight before you can finish them, and you’re going to have to deep-fry. There isn’t another way around either. That’s why it’s taken me all of these years to share the recipe because, eh, who wants to bother? I mean, not even me, not when I
can could* order them at some of my favorite restaurants. The potatoes will be too loose and floury and not crumble into nice chunks unless they’re fully cold. And yes, I’ve tried to roast them instead and it’s just not the same, not even close — the smaller pieces and corners turn black before the angles of the chunks get any color on them. Plus, they always seem oily in a way that the deep-fried nuggets are not. It’s the even toasty color and perfect crisp on every craggy, erratic angle that makes these transcendent.
From here, you can Barbuto them (pecorino, rosemary), you can MeMe’s Diner them (finish them little drizzle of shallot oil, I presume leftover from crisping shallots), you could patatas bravas them (smoked paprika, aioli, and a spicy tomato sauce), or you can just salt them and not feel, however briefly, that you’re missing out on a single, blissful thing.
* Both Barbuto is currently closed and MeMe’s Diner, unfortunately, permanently closed. It’s been a heartbreaking year for restaurants. I wish I could list and support every restaurant I love, but it would be all of them. Here are a few more places you can donate, should you be able.
Six months ago: Chicken Curry
One year ago: Cannellini Aglio e Olio
Two years ago: Asparagus and Egg Salad with Walnuts and Mint
Three years ago: Almond Horn Cookies
Four years ago: Eggs-in-Purgatory, Puttanesca-Style and Spring Chicken Salad Toasts
Five years ago: Carrot Graham Layer Cake and Wild Mushroom Pate
Six years ago: Three Bean Chili
Seven years ago: Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini
Eight years ago: Raspberry Coconut Macaroons
Nine years ago: Spaetzle
Ten years ago: Bakewell Tart and Romesco Potatoes
Eleven years ago: Chewy Amaretti Cookies
Twelve years ago: Shaker Lemon Pie
Thirteen years ago: Mixed Berry Pavlova