Friday, June 22, 2012

Potatoes Two Ways- the Irish cure-all

Perhaps one wouldn't think of potatoes as the "Irish cure-all", but rather of some stout brew that could numb the most terrible of pains or sorrows. My grandmother, who is of Irish descent, taught all of us grandchildren how to prepare potatoes many ways. For me, potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, impossible to resist and healing at the soul level.

I was thinking about rainy days, as I said on my previous post today and an image of a mound of potatoes came up, swimming in gravy, topped with crispy fries. I went to the store, assembled my ingredients and got to work. The zesty, vinegar fingerlings offer a contrast to the sweet, earthy, mashed Yukons.

The perfect snack for a cold, gloomy day.

Potatoes Two Ways
approx 6 Yukon Gold potatoes
10 fingerling potatoes, preferably purple or red-skin
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
unsalted butter
olive oil
Start a pot of water boiling with a pinch of salt and boil the Yukon gold potatoes. While they are boiling, get your gravy started and wash the fingerlings. Using a potato peeler, peel the fingerlings into little oval strips, forming a pile until there is just a small nub left, which can be saved for soup or compost. Once the fingerlings are reduced to small peelings, toss them in a bowl with the apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a frying pan with some oil and brown the peelings in the bottom of the pan, so they form a kind of sheet. Flip once they are golden and repeat on the other side. Once the Yukons can be broken easily with a fork, drain the pot and mash the potatoes (with the skins on) with a few tablespoons of unsalted butter, salt and pepper to taste. Mound the mashed potatoes onto a plate, garnish with the fingerling sheet and dress with the mushroom sauce to taste.

for the mushroom sauce
olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
approx 10 crimini mushrooms, diced
1 Tbs white wine
boiling water
cornstarch, approx 2 tsp
Start a saucepan on the stove with some olive oil. Soften the onions in the oil on low heat, until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and the mushrooms, being sure to add a little oil if the mixture looks dry. Allow the mushrooms to reduce slightly, adding the wine and some boiling water if necessary. Add the salt and pepper and slowly whisk in some cornstarch a bit at a time so clumps do not form. This should thicken the liquid in the pot. If it becomes too thick, simply add more boiling water. Once it has reached the desired consistency, it is ready to be added to your potatoes.

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