potato

I like the taste of the French/Italian/Spanish dish brandade. Usually made with salt cod, potatoes, dairy and spices, everything gets whipped together then baked in the oven till golden and delicious. Here’s a traditional brandade recipe from the New York Times.

Steven’s been after me about making this for a while. I won’t say how long. I keep promising I am going to but every time I gather the ingredients together I get distracted with other ideas. It isn’t quite “an issue” but… well, let’s just say that it’s high time that I pull this dish together.

“Brazilian” salt cod brandade

“Brazilian” salt cod brandade

My inspiration comes from the aforementioned traditional recipe and from my Dungeness crab casquinha de siri.

This is a crowd-pleaser that is perfect either as an elegant appetizer with crackers or slices of French baguette, or, like we had it, as a main course with a side of Israeli couscous and a mango and black bean salad to make a substantial meal.

Salt cod needs to be soaked in cold water for 24 to 48 hours with a few water changes to remove excess salt. I have some instructions on how to de-salt and pre-cook it here.

“Brazilian” salt cod brandade

2/3 lb prepared cod fish pieces (skinless and boneless)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, about 1lb, boiled and pureed (no lumps)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 tbsp onion, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
½ tsp sweet paprika
4 peeled tomatoes (from a can this time of year) chopped
1-2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 red Jalapeño pepper, minced, seeds and ribs discarded
4 tbsp light coconut milk
2 to 3 tbsp fine bread crumbs
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Ramekins (I used four medium sized ones)

Place cod pieces in the food processor and whiz for few seconds to break it down to small uniform bits but not into a paste.

Heat olive oil in a non stick pan, add onion and Jalapeño. Sauté until soft, add garlic and continue cooking for few more seconds until aromatic. Add tomatoes and let them break apart in the heat. Add cod, paprika, parsley, salt, pepper, coconut milk and mix everything together to warm through. Add potato and about one tablespoon bread crumbs. Mix to incorporate everything. Texture should look like that of a potato puree.

Fill your ramekins with the salt cod mix, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs, and then grated parmesan cheese. Broil to give the crust a golden color (remember you’ve already cooked everything on the stove). Remove from oven a serve.

{ 4 comments }

These Yukon gold potatoes came from our community garden plot! I am so excited about that fact. Have you ever grown potatoes? Well, I haven’t before. And we never planted them to begin with—they just “came with” the new plot. These are super yellow and lovely. I wonder if they were planted intentionally? The person who used to have our plot composted, so she could have dumped them in as table scraps or something. Well, whatever the reason, we were able to harvest about 5 lbs of gorgeous potatoes in less than four months. One day we started digging and the spuds kept on surfacing. Wow!

clams with Yukon gold potatoes

clams with Yukon gold potatoes

Yukon gold potatoes harvested from our community garden plot

Yukon gold potatoes harvested from our community garden plot

I’m continually enchanted with growing some of the produce we eat. It is magical and right now (mid-summer) every other day when I come to the garden I am surprised at how fast things develop. We’ve been getting lots of sun and that is making our plants happy.

This recipe is sort of a cross between a clam chowder and Vichyssoise soup. The clam sauce is inspired by this recipe, an excellently traditional way to enjoy fresh clams.

clams with Yukon gold potatoes

3 lbs medium to small sized clams, rinsed and clean
2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1½ cups dry white wine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped fine
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
small bunch chopped chives

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add a little salt and the cubed potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender, transfer to a colander to drain. Set aside.

Heat up 3 tbsp olive oil in a skillet, add shallot first then garlic and cook until aromatic. Toss in clams and let them sizzle for a couple of minutes without burning the garlic/shallot mix. Add wine and shake the pan to coat everything with juices. Cover and let cook on high until clams start to open. Transfer clams to a bowl as they begin to open and keep warm. Discard the ones that don’t open, if any. Pour juices over boiled potatoes and blend until smooth using a stick blender. If too thick add a bit of hot water. Adjust taste with salt. Return potato to the skillet and warm through. Toss in chives, the clams and drizzle with the remainder of the olive oil. Serve at once.

{ 2 comments }

salt cod fritters aka bolinho de bacalhau, or pasties de bacalhau

salt cod fritters aka bolinho de bacalhau, or pasties de bacalhau

I served this as appetizer for a salt cod themed dinner party we had over President’s Day weekend. We don’t fry too much at home but sometimes I like to break the rules. These cod fritters came out so good! As proof, all of them were eaten within about 10 minutes after they came out of the frying pan.

That night, we enjoyed these in the company John and Jasmine. Jasmine had just returned from her week vacation to Singapore with Prof. T (who is now somewhere in Australia for work). It was fun listening to her experiences abroad.

I made a Brazilian croquette version of this in the past which is similar. The main difference is the texture: the croquettes are slightly more dense; and the fritters, more airy and fluffy. Both are super tasty.

salt cod fritters aka bolinho de bacalhau, or pastéis de bacalhau

1 cup cooked salt cod in flakes (click here to learn how to desalt/cook salt cod)
2 cups mashed potato
4 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped fine
2 eggs
4 tbsp olive oil
½ small white onion, in small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt
Black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Canola oil for frying

Put olive oil in a saucepan, add onions and cook on low heat until soft and translucent. Add garlic then cod, salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley and potato and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes making sure all ingredients have been mixed together. Adjust flavors. Remove from heat and let cool down a bit. Add eggs one at a time. Stir to combine.

preparing salt cod mixture for salt cod fritters aka bolinho de bacalhau, or pasties de bacalhau

preparing cod mixture for salt cod fritters aka bolinho de bacalhau, or pasties de bacalhau

Fill a small pan with a couple inches of canola oil. Bring temperature to medium high.

Use a tablespoon to scoop out the cod mixture. Use another one to shape the mass into an elliptical cake. Repeat until no cod mix remains. Fry for approximately 4 minutes or until browned, flipping half way through. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.

Serve hot with wedges of lemon and pepper sauce.

draining browned salt cod fritters

draining browned salt cod fritters

{ 7 comments }

Portuguese businessman’s salt cod aka bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

Portuguese businessman’s salt cod aka bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

This is another Portuguese salt cod recipe which I adore. Legend says that it was created by a businessman from the northern city of Porto, hence the name Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. It is a complete success all over Brazil and a comfort food for me. It reminds me of the holidays from my childhood. My brothers and sisters would all come home and my mom would make special delectable meals for the 13 of us! Lots of activity in the kitchen preparing meals for a big family! This was one of the best.

Portuguese businessman’s salt cod aka bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

2lb dry salt cod
4 large Yukon gold potatoes
4 red bell peppers, cut in quarters, stems and seeds removed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 cup olive oil
4 tbsp canola oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 eggs boiled – how to boil eggs?
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
3 medium sized white onions, 2 of them cut thinly in half moon shape
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

Soak cod in cold water for about 24 hours changing water about 4 times. Place cod in a large saucepan, fill with fresh water; add bay leaf, peppercorns and one whole onion. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer cod with part of the cooking water to a bowl and let it cool down to room temperature. Retain remaining cooking water in pan. Drain, shred cod into bite size pieces. Remove and discard skin and any bones.

cooked, desalinated cod

cooked, desalinated cod

prepared salt cod

prepared salt cod

Return saucepan to the burner. Add whole potatoes, top with more water if needed. Bring to a boil and cook until soft by not crumbly. Mine took about 25 minutes. Scoop potatoes out of the pan, and let them cool in a colander. Once cool enough to handle, peel and cut into thick slices then set aside, keep warm.

Follow the link above to boil the eggs.

Meanwhile add canola oil to a pan that is wide enough to lay quartered peppers skin down in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, cover, bring temperature to high. Then lower it and cook/poach peppers until soft and skins are wrinkled, about 15-20 minutes. Do not burn them. Remove from heat, let cool, peel and discard skins. Set aside. Reserve the oil for other cooking purposes.

Wipe the pan with a paper towel, add ¾ cup olive oil, sliced onion, some salt and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Onions should be soft but not browned. Towards the last minute add crushed garlic followed by the prepared cod. Put in parsley, bell and black peppers. Carefully fold in potatoes and heat through.

Transfer to a warm serving bowl, garnish with slices of egg and Kalamata olives. Drizzle remaining olive oil over everything.

{ 9 comments }

spicy urad dal soup

by Heguiberto on February 9, 2012

spicy urad dal soup

spicy urad dal soup

Every now and then I try recipes from the journal, Gastronomica, published by UC Berkeley. I’m a big fan of this academic culinary periodical. Primarily the articles are stuff related to food history and culture. Their subjects are always off the beaten path. I savor each of issue.

Here’s what it says on Gastronomica’s about page:

Since 2001 we’ve been renewing the connection between sensual and intellectual nourishment by offering readers a taste of passionate inquiry through scholarship, humor, fiction, poetry, and exciting visual imagery. With its diverse voices and eclectic mix of articles, Gastronomica uses food as an important source of knowledge about different cultures and societies, provoking discussion and encouraging thoughtful reflection on the history, literature, representation, and cultural impact of food. The fact is, the more we know about food, the greater our pleasure in it. Welcome to our table!

And it is true! And no, I’m not receiving a cash payment for promoting this quarterly. Though if a check arrives in the mail I won’t be too sad about it.

Alas, what does all this flattery have to do with today’s post? Before we started this blog (that seems like a while ago!) I made a dosa recipe from a lovely article I read in the magazine etitled The Masala Dosas in My Life.

That one called for a small amount of split urad dal, but overenthusiastic, I bought a large bag. After having stored it in the pantry “for a while,” it was time to get inspired again. This urad dal soup has some of the features of my other red dal soup but with a creamier texture. This was excellent and I really don’t know why it took me so long to prepare this gourmet pulse.

I found a great pic of several kinds of urad dal on this excellent site, Manjula’s Kitchen, which I’m re-posting here.

several kinds of urad dal

several kinds of urad dal

spicy urad dal soup

2 cups split and hulled urad dal, picked over and rinsed
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 small russet potatoes, skin on, quartered
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 white onion, chopped
2 Serrano chili peppers, minced (seeds and ribs removed partially)
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 branch curry leaves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 28oz can unseasoned chopped tomatoes and juices
Kosher salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Put dal, turmeric powder and 6 cups of water in a saucepan. Place it on stove, temperature on high and boil for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove any foam that may form at the top. Add carrots, celery and potatoes and continue cooking until everything becomes soft. Add more water if needed. Keep it warm.

Meanwhile put oil, mustard and cumin seeds in a large skillet on high. Cook until aromatic and mustard seeds start to pop. Add onions, Serrano chili and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic, ginger, bay and curry leaves. Continue cooking until raw aromas of the garlic and ginger are gone. Next add coriander and chili powders and salt. Give it a good stir. Fold in tomatoes, add a cup of water, stir and cook for about 12 minutes on medium temperature. Mix it in the dal, taste and adjust salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer half of the soup to a bowl. Using a stick blender, blend everything together then return it back to the pot to thicken the soup a bit. Add chopped cilantro and serve! We had it with Brazilian style rice though it would also be excellent with roti.

{ 5 comments }

This dish was my first attempt at Ottolenghi’s “Tamara’s Ratatouille” from his marvelous book, Plenty. He promises that by following all the steps, the veggies will retain their shape and when done the dish will not become excessively mushy or wet, like the typical ratatouille everyone’s used to. I like wet, but Steven struggles with the squishiness of the common one, so I was particularly drawn to the recipe and accompanying picture in the book, which clearly demonstrated all that he claimed.

Fall-inspired kabocha and parsnip ratatouille

Fall-inspired kabocha and parsnip ratatouille

Well, men are fickle creatures indeed! Or perhaps my veggies were too water-logged? Whatever the reason, my ratatouille, or perhaps I should say caponata, was beyond moist. It was positively swimming.

Aside from photographing less well than I had hoped and despite the appearance of false advertizing, the dish itself was fantastic. I like that it calls for the use of some Fall vegetables. I had a beautiful kabocha pumpkin ready to be eaten, which was perfect.

Next time, in search of the crispy ratatouille holy-grail, I’m going to use less water and actually cut the veggies into the actual size Ottolenghi recommends (1¼ inch, I think mine were ¾ inch) and bake them slightly differently. The recipe calls for tomatoes but I forgot them.

Fall-inspired kabocha and parsnip ratatouille

½ medium kabocha squash, cubed in ¾ inch size
2 white onions, cut ¾ inch size
8 garlic cloves
1 Anaheim chile pepper, seed and ribs removed minced
2 red bell peppers, cubed ¾ inch size
1 medium sized parsnip, peeled and cubed ¾ inch size
1½ cup green beans
1 medium Italian zucchini, cut into ¾ inch dice
1 medium yellow zucchini, cut into ¾ inch dice
1 medium yellow potato, peeled, cut into ¾ inch cubes
¾ large Italian eggplant, peeled and cubed ¾ inch size
½ tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1½ cup warm water
8 tbsp canola oil

Place 3 tbsp of oil in a large sauce pan. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until they become translucent, add garlic, Anaheim and bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes. Next add parsnip and squash and keep on sautéing for additional 5 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Return pan to stovetop. Add remaining oil followed by green beans, eggplant and zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring intermittently.

Return first batch of veggies back to pan. Add potato, sugar, salt and pepper. Next, dissolve tomato paste in water and pour it over vegetables. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Place pan in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes. (Here’s where my ratatouille got mushy.) I let mine stay piled up all together, but Ottolenghi recommends removing them from the pan to a baking dish in a single layer then covering them with the pan juices. That would probably have worked. Alas. The outcome was delicious, wet, or I’d imagine, dry.

{ 2 comments }

potato omelet with zucchini blossoms

by Stevie on September 23, 2011

This recipe comes from Culinaria Spain, that grand book with the vibrant yellow cover. Do you know it? We often enjoyed tortilla espanõl on our long-ago visit to that marvelous country. Until the other day, I’d never made the dish.

potato omelet with zucchini blossoms

potato omelet with zucchini blossoms

The Culinaria gives a standard recipe then suggests that various toppings that can be used to modify it. There isn’t one for zucchini blossom. But ours were so lovely and because I really made a mess of stuffing them before, I thought that I’d use them like spinach as in tortilla de espinacas. And since this is still America, I sprinkled ours with some cheese at the end for good measure. No ketchup, though, so I guess that we’re learning.

As you might have guessed, this has a very delicate flavor that is quite nice. It sort of reminded us of a butter-free version of pommes Anna.

soaking my zucchini blossoms

soaking my zucchini blossoms

potato omelet with zucchini blossoms

2/3 cup olive oil
2 ½ lbs potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
6 eggs
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 bunch zucchini blossoms
shredded cheese (optional)

Add ½ cup olive oil to skillet with 1 tsp salt on high heat. Add sliced potatoes and sauté for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile beat together eggs and remaining 1 tsp salt until foamy.
Remove potatoes from heat, drain any remaining oil and set aside. Gently fold potatoes into eggs. Let rest.

Trim flowers to remove any large stems and the inner stamens and pistils. Sauté in same pan with a touch of salt. Remove from heat and set aside once they have wilted.

Heat remaining oil in pan then pour potato egg mixture back into skillet on low heat. Cover with sautéed zucchini blossoms. Let cook for a few minutes. Then using a large dish, carefully flip the omelet over and cook on the opposite side. Once ready, flip into a serving dish, blossom side up. Sprinkle with cheese.

{ 5 comments }

Kabocha is one of my favorite types of pumpkin. It has a nutty, sweet flavor with an intense, beautiful yellow color. It is perfect served as a side dish. The classic Brazilian way to prepare it is one of the simplest: sautéed with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a bit of water, until tender. We enjoy kabocha that way at home very often. I’ve made it in risotto, too, which is another fabulous savory pumpkin dish.

kabocha pumpkin gnocchi with walnut pesto with a side of mache salad

kabocha pumpkin gnocchi with walnut pesto with a side of mache salad

Americans don’t seem to be very in-the-know about kabocha. I wonder if that’s because the exterior is so gnarled and dark green to brown? It is a bit ugly, really. Kabocha isn’t anything like those cheery but flavorless orange monsters that make wonderful jack-o-lanterns but nothing else. Acorn and butternut squash are the cooking favorites here as far as I can tell, and I’ve no complaints about them, but to me, kabocha remains the unsung queen of the pumpkin patch.

vibrant orange interior of kabocha pumpkin

vibrant orange interior of kabocha pumpkin

I saw a gorgeous recipe for pumpkin gnocchi in this book, The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein. Normally, I like gnocchi with loads of cheese, but this recipe challenged all that with its no-animal-products stance. A complete vegan dish, how exciting… It turned out really good, despite being healthy. And since it was a bit messy to make, we had a lot of fun both in the kitchen and at table.

kabocha pumpkin gnocchi with walnut pesto

For the gnocchi:

4 small russet potatoes, ~ 1¼ lbs, peeled and halved
1 lb kabocha pumpkin, seeds and stringy parts removed; cut into wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch nutmeg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2+ cups of flour

For the walnut pesto:

¾ cup walnuts
1½ cups Italian parsley
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp sundried tomato packed in oil, drained
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

steaming kabocha and potatoes

steaming kabocha and potatoes

Steam potato and kabocha until fully cooked and tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a colander and let them cool down slightly.

Meanwhile place pesto ingredients in the food processor and whiz until turned into a smooth thick paste. Transfer to a small bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Set aside.

Pre heat oven to 350F.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add a teaspoon of olive oil.

Remove kabocha rinds and discard. Place steamed pumpkin and potatoes in a large bowl. Add olive oil, nutmeg, salt then mash with a fork until relatively smooth and combined. Add flour and mix to incorporate. Place dough on a floured surface and knead it for about 4 minutes. Add more flour if too sticky.

Shape the dough into a rectangle. Using a knife, cut it into 6 segments. Cut each segment in half. With floured hands and surfaces, roll each piece into about a ¾ inch-thick tube. Cut each tube in ½ inch wide pillows. Using your thumb and the tines of a fork, gently press each little pillow to flatten them a bit while at the same time making indentations in one side.

shaping the gnocchi

shaping the gnocchi

Cook in batches to prevent sticking. To cook, add a batch of fresh gnocchi to the boiling water. Wait for them to rise to the surface. Turn temperature to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to remove the gnocchi earlier, it will taste bad! Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a colander. Let drain for a minute or so. Meanwhile, bring water back to a full boil and repeat process with remaining batches. Reserve 2+ cups of cooking water.

Add one tablespoon olive oil to a large glass baking dish. Spread gnocchi in a single layer in the dish (use a second baking dish if needed). Add enough reserved water to walnut pesto to thin it into a somewhat runny sauce. Pour over gnocchi and bake for about 12 minutes to warm through.

We served this with a simple mache salad in vinaigrette. It was a feast! And it is so healthy that you won’t feel a bit of remorse having two slices of cheesecake.

Cheesecake challenge: The glamorous Heavenly from donuts to delirium and we at weirdcombos want to invite any interested food blogging folk to join us in a cheesecake cooking challenge. All you have to do is contact us for the basic recipe, come up with a creative version of your own, and publish it with links to all the other participants for the challenge on Monday August 8, 2011. This was incredibly fun when we did the chocolate truffle challenge in May and the tagliatelle challenge in March. So get your thinking caps on and your sweet… teeth(?) ready for some delicious fun in August!

{ 11 comments }

aloo gobhi matar with dried fenugreek leaves

December 6, 2010

This is another delicious recipe I have adapted from the wonderful cookbook, Ajanta: Regional Feasts of India. I served it recently with a mouth-watering Kashimiri eggplant dish, badal jaam featured here back in June. I picked this recipe because we bought a head of cauliflower and inadvertently left it at the back of the fridge […]

Read the full article →

very much marinated potato salad

October 14, 2010

This is a recipe that I was quite fond of in the Eighties but probably haven’t made since then. I rediscovered it recently in a small box while cleaning out some dusty, rarely used kitchen cabinets. I’d written it down on an index card then forgot about it. It tastes as good as I remembered, […]

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Read the full article →