batatinha frita com vinagre AKA fried baby potatoes tossed in red wine vinegar

by Heguiberto on January 4, 2011

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I don’t understand why in Brazil we call potato, ‘English Potato’ or ‘ batatinha Inglesa’ as we all know that the potato originates in another South American country: Peru. My guess is that potatoes arrived in Brazil after they’d already crossed the Atlantic to the United Kingdom and Ireland, got introduced to Portugal and then traveled closer to their home of origin from there. I’ve not researched it, so this is just speculation. I think it makes sense at least.

batatinha frita com vinagre

batatinha frita com vinagre

Well, as it turns out, the prosaic potato was not widely available in the region where I grew up in Brazil. My mother claimed that there was some sort of fungus that prevented the plants from developing properly. Since we ate mostly locally grown produce, and we couldn’t deal with the potato fungus, this delectable tuberous was something of a rare and special treat. Whenever we were so lucky as to have them, portions were parsimonious. Usually potatoes got served as a side dish to go with rice, beans, sautéed collard greens, meats and salad. That’s still more or less the way that I like them, no matter how many carbs you are ingesting. Steven finds it funny eating fried potatoes and rice at the same meal. I think it is perfect, especially if we’re talking my mother’s fried potatoes.

She always fried them in fresh neutral oil for the best flavor. If you don’t have fresh oil, then don’t bother. Towards the end of the cooking process she would toss a sliced onion and a couple of garlic cloves into the pot and let them cook for a minute to just wilt a bit. Then everything would be turned out onto an absorbing paper or kitchen towel to let the excess oil drain off. Next she’d toss the fried potato with salt, pepper and a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar. This is so good that my mouth has started watering as I write and remember this recipe…

I used a one-pound mélange of organic “baby” potatoes I got at our local TJ’s that came in different colors. They were incredibly sweet and had different textures. The bag had purple Peruvian, Yukon gold and Russet pink potatoes: beautiful color combinations.

batatinha frita com vinagre AKA fried baby potatoes tossed in red wine vinegar

1lb mixed organic baby potatoes, skin on, rinsed, dried and halved
1 white onion, peeled then halved and sliced into half moon shapes
2 garlic cloves
Neutral oil (e.g. canola or corn) enough to fry
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp high acidity red wine vinegar or malt vinegar

Crowd halved potatoes in a small saucepan (about 1½ quarts or 6½ inches in diameter). Add enough oil to barely cover potato. Fry for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are slightly brown. Add onion and garlic towards the last minute of cooking. Fry a bit longer. Using a slotted spoon remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel for a minute. Place potato, garlic and onion in a bowl. Add salt, pepper and vinegar. Toss well and serve!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

tigerfish January 4, 2011 at 11:51 am

You had me at ingredients and their different names. I get confused easily too. Example: Yam, taro seem to be different in US and Asia….and chickpeas go by different names too – garbanzo?

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