Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Farm(er's Market) Fresh Fried Potatoes

This is the only picture I have of the potatoes I made the other night.

Gone. All gone before I even thought to snap a quick pic. This has only happened once before and it was during my early food blogging days (see spinach and artichoke mac and cheese). These potatoes were delightful. They were flavorful with just the right texture: slight crisp to the outside and unbelievably creamy on the inside. Make these now (assuming you have a half bottle of corn oil, fresh sage, artichokes and 3 varieties of potatoes sitting around).

I bought the beautiful variety potatoes and fresh sage for this recipe (unfortunately not pictured) at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. It is one of my favorite places to be early in the day on a Sunday. It is a big farmer's market that is made up of half farm fresh foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, eggs, nuts, beans, etc) and half prepared or made-to-order hot foods (pancakes, omelets, tamales, quesadillas, sausages, breads, coffee, crepes, corn, etc). There are also some boutique clothing and jewelry vendors sprinkled throughout. It is about a block from the beach in Santa Monica so the breeze is perfect for a hot day. Just ask Stanley...

There are farmer's markets are all over the city. I have seen bigger ones (Hollywood Farmer's Market on Sundays) and smaller ones (Larchmont Farmer's Market on Sundays) that I really enjoy, but the Santa Monica one has got a history with me. It is a big part of what made me fall in love with California the first time I visited. The idea of someday being able to go to the market any Sunday I wanted was just so appealing to me. I also used to dream about taking my dog for a walk around the area after eating a huge breakfast (the omelets are my favorite) because Santa Monica is probably the most dog-friendly areas in the city (even though they are not allowed in the actual market itself or even on the sand at the beach). It is every bit as delightful as I thought it would be, and Stanley looooooooved looking at the kites that were flying as we strolled down the walkway at the beginning of the sand. I still think about how I would love to live so close to the market that I could wake up and just walk there (Someday?).

If you find yourself in Los Angeles, this farmer's market is a must. I recommend the omelets (the biggest you have ever seen); they make it right in front of you as you tell them what you want in it. Oh, and the line is worth it. The pancakes are also huge and delicious with fresh blueberries. I rarely stray from either of those two things, but everything looks amazing so I don't think you can go wrong.

I have been meaning to make these potatoes for a really long time after reading about them on another food blog, Caviar and Codfish. It has a lot of great recipes and pictures that do them justice. You can find an original picture of these potatoes (instead of the one I have after they have been demolished by 6 hungry people) as well as the incredible meal that was made to go with them HERE .

Farm(er's Market) Fresh Fried Potatoes with Sage and Artichokes
(slightly adapted for convenience from Caviar and Codfish)

2 1/2 lbs potatoes, purple, new and fingerling
1/2 jar of artichokes, patted dry (original recipe called for about 8 fresh artichokes, but I didn't want to experiment with trimming them and prepping them properly this time around...the ones from the jar were fine for now, but I would like to try it again with the fresh ones)
1 handful (small), fresh sage leaves
corn oil, however much you need to almost submerge the potatoes in the pot...it was about 3/4 of a small bottle for me.
kosher salt (original recipe calls for fleur de sel which is probably best, but I didn't have any)
Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional - not part of original recipe)

Fill a very large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot halfway with corn oil and place over med-high heat.
Cut the potatoes into thirds or quarters (depending on the size of each - the cut potatoes should all end up as the same size before frying).
After about 5 minutes, add the potatoes to the hot oil (the recipe says the oil should be 350F-375F, but I did not have a way of knowing how hot the oil was so I just put the potatoes in at 5 minutes)
Leave the potatoes in the skillet/pot undisturbed for 5 minutes, and then stir with a long spoon (don't get splashed with hot oil!). The idea here is to shift the potatoes around in the pot so the ones cooking faster can switch places with the ones cooking slower in different positions in the pot.
Leave the potatoes alone again for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, take the artichokes out of the jar, and pat dry with a paper towel (or of course, prep your fresh artichokes).
After the 8 minutes, add artichokes and stir.
Continue to fry the potatoes with the artichokes 10-15 minutes.
When the potatoes start to turn golden and become crispy on the outside (go ahead, take one out, blow on it to cool and give it a try), add the sage leaves for the last minute of frying (they will become crispy really quickly).
Remove everything from the pot and drain on paper towels set out over either a baking sheet or paper bags.
Sprinkle with kosher salt (or better, as the recipe says, fleur de sel).
I also sprinkled some shaved Parmesan cheese over te top of the hot potatoes which i think worked well. The original recipe also suggests serving with lemon wedges which would be nice too.

BONUS! I was also making some jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon at the time, so I scraped a couple chunks of toasted cream cheese that had been left on the baking sheet from that, and plopped them in the potatoes. It probably equaled less than a tablespoon of cream cheese, but I think it added a fun hint of flavor.

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