Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Recipe: Paprika fried potatoes

Hi again and welcome to 2005. Here's one that was referenced last year, but didn't make it in . . .

These were first created to accompany grilled salmon (back when we thought farm raised salmon was safe to eat!) Now, however, they find their way into many meals, with or without ‘extras,’ cubed small or cut into large chunks as in this version. They are utterly simple and simply delicious.

here's what you'll need . . .
1 potato per person
coarse (Kosher) salt
freshly ground Tellicherry
your favorite paprika(s) (I like to use a mixture of Hungarian half-sharp and ordinary supermarket which tends to be a sweetish paprika)
olive oil
extras – onions, sliced mushrooms, red or green bell peppers, . . .

Here’s how you do it.

Peel the potatoes, if you must. Cathy prefers peeled; I prefer skin on: so we compromise. I peel the potatoes (most of the time). Put a skillet on to heat up. Pick a ‘bite size,’ anything from ½ a potato to a ½” cube, and cut your potatoes. Put 2 – 3 Tbsps. olive oil into the hot pan, swirl to fragrance, and toss in the potatoes.

Potatoes in the pan

As with most things skillet, on my stove the pan gets heated with the dial set at about 4 o’clock; when the food goes in the temperature gets turned down to about 8 o’clock. And that’s the way we do the potatoes. It takes about 20 – 30 minutes to cook a skillet-full to tenderness, and to allow the flavors to develop.

When the potatoes first go in, roll them around to make sure every surface gets coating of oil. Then let them sit and sizzle for 5 minutes or so before moving them around again. You don’t want to completely brown one side before turning to the next, but you do want to end up with at least a couple of sides nicely browned when you’re through. So give them a few minutes on each side before you star turning them frequently to ensure that they cook evenly.

If adding ‘extras,’ toss them in after the fist side begins to show some color. Just push the potatoes around the edge, and pile the goodies in the center. Stir them round and turn them over in the center a few times until they start to cook. Then you can mix everything up for the rest of the cooking.

Potatoes in the pan with extras

After those first 5 minutes or so, and usually just before the extras go in, give the potatoes a goodly grinding or 12 of Tellicherry, and a very light sprinkle of the coarse salt. When you get ready to turn the potatoes the next time, add a hefty sprinkle of paprika. Then turn, pepper and paprika the next side. (If you’re a saltaholic, go ahead and add a little more – I prefer to finish the salting at the table, but hey . . .) And then just keep turning and cooking until you declare done!

Potatoes with extras seasoned

If you want, put a layer of paper towel on a plate and turn the finished potatoes out onto that before you put them in a serving bowl. We like the olive oil, so usually just dump them directly into the serving bowl and head for the table!

Potatoes served

Simple and delicious.

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