Tag Archive for Potato

Oven Fries

Sometimes I see a recipe that I need to make. ASAP. These oven fries were one of them. So I made them, and I wasn’t disappointed. They were exactly what I expected them to be, slightly crispy, slightly greasy and completely different than the oven potatoes I make normally. But also completely different than deep-fried fries. I ate them with a lovely stew that had been bubbling for 5+ hours, and some mayonnaise, because you can’t eat fries without mayonnaise.


Oven Fries
Ever so slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

waxy potatoes
oil (I used rapeseed)

The amount of potato will depend on the size of your baking sheet. If you cut the potato in batons of 1 by 1 cm, they must be able to fit in a single layer on your baking sheet. I like to keep the skins on, so I wash my potatoes well. You can also use peeled potatoes.
Place the potatoes that you’ve cut into batons in a large pan and cover with water. Set heat on high and set timer for 10 minutes. If the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium. If not, that’s fine. After 10 minutes, drain. Your potatoes will still be rather firm.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 230C. Cover the bottom of your baking sheet with a thin layer of oil. Place in the oven to heat up.
Immediately after draining, spread the potatoes on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a little more oil, and make sure they are all coated. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss. Roast for another 5 minutes and toss. Repeat until the potatoes have the desired colour.
Season with a little more salt if you like, and serve immediately.

Dutch Food: fried fish with potatoes and vegetables

Potatoes with meat and vegetables is a typical traditional Dutch dish (nowadays it is often regarded as a bit old-fashioned). I always find the same dish with fish a bit more luxurious, so it is nice to serve cooked baby potatoes dressed with butter, salt and chopped parsley instead of the normal cooked potatoes smashed with jus (‘prakje’). Also, from fish you get no gravy, so you need something else to flavour and moisten your potatoes. To complete it, I like to add a splash of cream to my vegetables. I will not give a recipe here, everyone can cook potatoes and vegetables (and otherwise a basic cookbook or google will help greatly) and the best way to cook the fish is entirely dependent on the kind of fish you choose (be sure to choose something with the MSC or ASC label!). Use as much butter, cream and seasoning as you like.
I used cod (that is why it flakes a bit), baby potatoes with skin and a vegetable mix with cauliflower (which crumbled terribly), broccoli and carrot. But potatoes without skin are equally nice, and as vegetables pea&carrot or carrot&mangetout would be very nice as well.

fried fish with potatoes and vegetables

Dutch food: endive gratin

First a little clarification about endive (also called Belgian or French endive), since it is called very different in different parts of the world. In the Netherlands endive is called witlof, while we use the word endive (andijvie) for what they in some part of the world call escarole, but escarole is sometimes called endive too in some other parts of the world. The endive I mean now are the small heads of cream-colored, slightly bitter leaves. It is grown completely underground or indoors in the absence of sunlight in order to prevent the leaves from turning green and opening up; after harvesting it has to be kept dark as well to prevent it from turning green and very unpalatable bitter. The harder inner part of the stem at the bottom of the head should be cut out before cooking, because it is very hard and unpalatable bitter.

Endive was developed in Belgium, but nowadays is grown on large scale in the Netherlands too. It stands on place 3 in the list of most eaten veggies in the Netherlands, so it is very popular. The favourite things to do with it are making a salad and making endive gratin: heads of endive rolled in ham and cheese placed in a baking tray and covered with mashed potatoes. Some people make this gratin without the potato purée, and don’t use the cheese in the rolls but make a cheese sauce with it to pour over the endive-ham rolls, sprinkle everything with cheese and then grill it, but the variation with potato is how I ate it when I grew up, so I stick to that. Originally, you cook the endive, but that makes it quite mushy and watery, therefore I grill it. It keeps its texture better, and because of caramelisation the endive gets less bitter as well.

Endive Gratin

Endive gratin (serves 4)

4 large heads of endive (or 8 small ones)
8 slices of ham
8 slices of cheese
1 kg potatoes suitable for mash (I like to use slightly floury potatoes)
100 ml milk
knob of butter
salt and pepper
optional: some dried breadcrumbs

Remove the ugly outer leaves of the endive and the stem, slice the head in half and remove the core. Place the slices of cheese on the slices of ham and lay them out on your workspace.
Peel the potatoes and cook them in salted water. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan. Place the halved heads of endive in it and fry until slightly caramelized, then turn them over and do the same on the other side. Preheat the oven/grill.
Mash the potatoes and make a nice purée with the milk, butter, salt and pepper.
Place a halved head of endive on each slice of ham/cheese (or 2 halves, if you used small heads), then roll. Place all the rolls in a baking tray, then scoop the purée on top. I like to make a nice ridge pattern with a fork and sprinkle some dried breadcrumbs over it to make the top extra crispy. Place under the grill for a crispy layer on top, or cook for a bit longer in the oven if you like your endive a bit more cooked.

Aioli and patatas bravas

I love garlic. I put it in most of my dishes, even when it shouldn’t be in there, and I always add more than prescribed in a recipe. I just love the flavour of it. I also like aioli, but the problem with making it yourself is the garlic. When you use raw garlic, the flavour tends to be a bit too pungent, also it makes your breath smell bad and you taste it for hours after eating it. But when you use roasted garlic, it tends to be too mellow, and roasting the garlic properly takes ages, a hot oven and loads of olive oil, which are three things you don’t want when you are making a light dip for some crudité on a hot summer day.
So when I got a tip from someone to dry-roast unpeeled cloves of garlic for a few minutes in a hot skillet, peel them after frying and smashing them with a bit of salt before adding it to a sauce, I was happy to give it a try. And I was happy that I did so, because I will not make my garlic sauces in any other way than this any more. It takes away the very harsh and pungent taste, but keeps the garlic flavour very well. And because the garlic becomes softer, it is easier to purée as well. I used it mixed with mayonnaise for an aioli, to serve with patatas bravas (Spanish spicy potatoes, although the way I make them is not very authentic), but there are loads of other possibilities. Mix it with yoghurt for a dip for crudité, with crème fraîche to accompany baked potato, with cream cheese for a sandwich/cracker spread, with butter and herbs for herb butter, etc.

Patatas bravas with aioli (serves 2)

500 g small potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 fat cloves of garlic, unpeeled
pimentón de la vera (smoky Spanish paprika powder, dulce and/or piccante)

Preheat the oven to 210C.
Place the potatoes in a pan, and pour water on top until just covered. Season with salt. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are just soft/barely cooked. Drain and leave to steam for a few minutes in the pan without the lid, to get rid of the water. Pour in an oven tray, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile make the aioli. Place a skillet on high heat. Put the unpeeled garlic cloves in and roast for a few minutes (it is fine when the peel gets burned, this gives extra flavour). Leave to cool for a bit, then peel and mash with some salt. Add to the mayonnaise. Season with the pimentón to taste.
Serve the aioli either mixed with the potatoes, or as a dip.
Note: for “normal” aioli, omit the pimentón.

Lentil-potato salad

I often have a texture issue with pulses. They often are very mealy and mushy and icky. Part of that can be remedied by using the right pulses. The only lentil that works for me in non-soup/dhal dishes (for which I prefer orange lentils) is the black beluga lentil, because it stays whole during cooking and doesn’t get all mushy and starchy. Some people claim the same of puy lentils, but I really didn’t like those, so I stick with these. The other part of the remedy is making the correct dish. A bowl of plain lentils is boring, it needs something extra. This salad succeeds in that brilliantly, the creamy potato and sharp and tangy dressing complement the lentils perfectly, making this a delicious dish.

The temperature of this salad is kind of in between. The original recipe calls it “warm” and makes sure to keep the potato and lentils warm, but I don’t think that is necessary. Just make sure that your lentils and potatoes and dressing are ready at about the same time, mix them together and serve immediately. Also at room temperature I think this salad is lovely. The only things that don’t work are hot, and fridge-cold.

This salad is a delicious side with about anything. We ate it with a piece of salmon fillet, but it would also be delicious with roast chicken, pork chops or sausage. As with most things, a fried or poached egg on top is delicious; or chop some hard boiled eggs and stir them through, making it a stand-alone dish. It is also delicious as lunch, in that case store the dressing separate from the rest to prevent sogginess and making it possible to reheat the lentils and potato. It should keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

Lentil-Potato Salad (serves 4-6)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 large shallot, halved
1 clove garlic, crushed then halved
4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry black lentils
salt and pepper

500 g baby potatoes, halved

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons sour gherkins, chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper

Cook lentils. Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a small/medium pan with the halved shallot, crushed garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, some salt, some pepper and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Check earlier than that, because some lentils cook faster than others. Drain and discard shallot, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes. In a separate pan, cover potatoes with 3 cm cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, they should be easily pierced with a toothpick or knife. Again, check earlier than the 15 minutes, because different kinds of potatoes cook faster than others. Drain.
Make the dressing. Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped gherkin and parsley.
Assemble salad. Place potatoes in serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Potato salad with chicken and celery

A lighter, but still delicious alternative for potato salad with bacon and egg. Perfect as side dish for a BBQ, delicious at picnics and potlucks, but also perfect as a complete meal or for lunch.

Potato salad with chicken and celery (serves 2, or 4-6 as a side)

1 chicken breast
500 g small potatoes, cut in halve (cut larger ones in chuncks)
3 large gherkins, in cubes
2 sticks of celery, in cubes
1 apple, in cubes
4 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1 tbsp gherkin juice (coming from the gherkin jar)
1/2-1 tsp mustard (amount depends on how strong your mustard is)

Poach or grill the chicken breast. Cut into cubes.
Place the potatoes in a pan, cover with water, season with some salt. Bring to the boil and cook until tender (check by pricking a potato with a pointy knife: if there is resistance, the potatoes are not cooked; if it slides in they are cooked).
Make the sauce by combining the mayonnaise, gherkin juice and mustard. Season strongly with salt and pepper, as all the ingredients in the salad will have only a thin coating of this dressing.
Mix the chicken, potatoes, gherkins, celery, apple and sauce carefully. Because the potatoes are still a little warm, they will soak up some of the sauce and will give the salad a lukewarm serving temperature. Some people like the salad fridge-cold, but this will go at the cost of taste.

Saag aloo and roasted gobi curry

I’m not really into cauliflower, it doesn’t have much flavour and it tends to get mushy really quick. Until I found this recipe… Roasting the cauliflower gives it lots of extra flavour and will not get mushy at all. Together with spinach, potatoes and a simple tomato based curry sauce, it makes a delicious meal. I served a lean beefburger with it for protein, but a grilled chicken breast would also be great. Or add some lentils or chickpeas for a vegetarian meal.

Saag Aloo with Roasted Gobi

Saag aloo and roasted gobi curry (2 generous servings)
Slightly adapted from The Hairy Bikers

1/2 head white cauliflower, in florets (also works with romanesco cauliflower; you can roast the whole head and use the other halve in another dish)
2 tbsp olive oil
optional: other spices like garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2cm ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
5 fresh or dried curry leaves (fresh are best, but difficult to get hold of)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1 generous tsp sambal (I used sambal badjak)
500 g small potatoes (or larger ones cut in cubes)
300 g spinach
400 g tomatoes, chopped (I used canned, because they have more flavour than fresh tomatoes)
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
pepper to taste
squeeze lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Place the cauliflower florets in a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and any spices you fancy. Mix until everything is combined. Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown and tender.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, fry for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric, fenugreek and sambal. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mustard seeds pop and become aromatic. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the spices. Add the tomato, stock cube and pepper, stir to combine, place a lid on the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked, while stirring occasionally.
Add the spinach and place the lid back on. Cook until wilted. It will not stir through very well, so dumping it on top will enable you to take it out easily and divide it equally over plates. Add a splash of lemon juice to the sauce, taste and add some more, and/or adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve together with the roast cauliflower (the recipe suggested to mix it through, but when serving it separately, it will stay crisp longer).

Note: to make this recipe truly vegetarian/vegan, make sure you use a sambal that is suitable for vegetarians (i.e. does not contain fermented shrimp (trassi/belacan)). And of course you need to use vegetable stock and not chicken stock.

Mushroom and cream sauce

This sauce is a pan sauce, which means that it is made in a pan after a piece of meat was fried in it. It uses all the juices that came out of the meat and the bits that stuck to the pan to create something delicious very fast. Sometimes I leave my sauce very plain, I just add a little water to the frying pan to make a lovely jus, but you can also make it into something a bit more special: mushroom and cream sauce.

Not all kinds of meat are suitable for pan sauces. I have the best results with all kinds of beef steaks or pork chops/fillet/loin, so basically all cuts that can be cooked fast in a hot pan. For this, I start with removing the smoke alarm from the kitchen as it tends to go off when I prepare something like this, it can get a little smoky. And you’ll have to take the meat out from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking, it should be at room temperature. And slice the mushrooms, you will not have time for that later on. For an extra luxurious version, use wild mushrooms.
Heat a thick bottomed frying pan on high heat, it should be very hot, you should not be able to hold your hand above it for more than 2-3 seconds. Add a little oil (use something that can withstand the high heat) and place your meat in the pan. Leave it for about 1 minute (do not fuss around with it!!) then turn it over (it should be nice and brown), fry for another minute. Turn the heat down, season with salt and pepper and add a knob of butter to the pan. This gives the meat a nice caramelized flavour and glossy finish. Turn over the meat once again, season this side as well. The time on low heat depends on the kind and cut of meat, a steak will need less time than a pork chop. Unfortunately I cannot give times for this, it really comes down to experience, I smell, hear and feel (cooked meat is less springy) if the meat is ready. Rest the meat between two plates to keep it warm, usually 10-15 minutes is enough, this is also the time necessary for making the sauce.
Use the same pan as frying the meat in, don’t clean it and don’t pour anything out. On medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes, or until soft and a little coloured. Then add few tablespoons of cream, stir well and take off the heat. Check for seasoning. If some of the juices came out of the meat, add these to the sauce too. It gives extra flavour. If you like, you can add some herbs like parsley or tarragon to the sauce. Serve directly with the rested meat, oven baked potatoes and a mixed salad.

Mushroom and cream sauce

Potatoes with bacon, onion, mushrooms and cheese

There is a brand in the Netherlands that makes all sorts of things with potatoes. One of their products is a range of frozen potato dishes with add-ins based on different foreign countries/dishes. And actually, their ideas are quite good, but… their execution is very poor. I especially like the idea of the Swiss version, it contains small potato bits, bacon, onion, mushrooms and bacon. But it sits all in one bag, so you prepare it together as well, which causes the add-ins to be overcooked when the potatoes are crispy (or you have nice add-ins but soggy potatoes). And the add-ins are just not of great quality and there is only a small amount of them. So even though I like the idea of this product, I never buy it because it is just not nice to eat.

Later on I figured I could perfectly make it myself with good products and in separate pans, so I did, with great results. As portions are completely up to personal preferences, I will just give the description without a real recipe. Start with frying some lardons. Meanwhile slice the onions, mushrooms and cheese (I used belegen farmhouse Gouda). Make fried potatoes the way and shape you like (this time I shallow fried frozen precooked slices of potatoes). When the bacon is ready, take it out onto a plate and use the bacon fat to slowly cook/caramelize the onion. When those are ready, take them out and put together with the bacon. Probably a little bit of bacon fat will be left in the pan, which you can use to fry the mushrooms (use a hot pan). Add the lardons and bacon back in, and add the cubes of cheese as well. Mix and serve together with the potatoes (either mixed or separate), mayonnaise (as dip for the potatoes) and a refreshing salad. The timing depends on how you prepare your potatoes/if you use raw or precooked, and the type of lardons (the good stuff takes quite a bit longer to fry).

Vegetable bake

This dish was inspired on a recipe from James Martin. He describes it as a perfect dish to serve at dinner parties to be able to give a wide range of different vegetables, without having to use many dishes. I completely agree with that, but it also is a great dish when you are busy, because the actual hands on time is very little. Since it has only a little fat and lots of vegetables, it is also a healthy dish, but is still satisfying because of all the hearty, roasty flavours. So perfect to give a bit of balance after the Christmas and New Year’s feasts.

Mine had sausages, thyme, lemon, potato, fennel, butternut squash, onion, garlic and carrot. Without the sausages it is a perfect side dish for roasts, rosemary and honey are a great alternative for the thyme and lemon, and other vegetables like parsnip, celeriac, swede/turnip, sweet potato, but also courgette, aubergine, paprika and mushrooms work very well. Basically all vegetables that cook well in the oven without much fat or liquid work.

The recipe is so straightforward, that I don’t even need to write a real recipe. Just cut up all the vegetables you want to use (small potatoes can stay whole), throw them in a baking dish. Add your flavouring of choice (herbs, lemon, honey, etc), peel some garlic cloves, smash them with your knife and throw in the dish too. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle some olive oil over the vegetables and mix. The oil should be enough to coat all the vegetables, but not so much that it puddles in the bottom. Then place the sausages (if using) on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for about 45 minutes, or until the sausages and vegetables are cooked.

Vegetable Bake