Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to Brunch

Did anyone else try to make the Judith Jones' potato recipe from this Sunday's NY Times magazine section? Jones, the original editor of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" dedicates her recipe to the late, great Julia. The recipe itself looked simple and delicious. Sliced potatoes are layered in a skillet and cooked in butter till crispy. I love to make a big late morning breakfast on weekends and this seemed like a perfect complement to my scrambled eggs with chives. I decided to forgo the garlic (it seemed too early in the morning), but that was the only substitution I made, other than NOT peeling the potatoes and adding some fresh thyme.

So the fun began when it was time to flip the potatoes. Jones says cook them on one side for eight minutes, then carefully flip onto a plate and slide back into the pan. This is something I have done before with, for example, fritattas, so I was not fazed. Jones warned that the potatoes would not stick together and she was not kidding. I flipped the potatoes and several slices managed to escape, flying across the kitchen. Hey! And then to my dismay I saw that the potatoes were not cooked enough on the flipped side. They were neither brown, nor crispy. Darn. I didn't want to end up flipping again, but, well, argh.

So I let the second side cook a little longer than the recommended five minutes and then with a spatula lifted up the edges to take a peek, duh. Good! Brown and crispy. Ok, now I'm flipping again to get the first side a little more cooked. Again potato slices went flying. Geez. It must have been too early in the day for me to be trying these maneuvers.

Out of the pan and onto the plate and into our mouths without incident, I can now say “YUM” and well worth the effort. The hard part is really the flipping and if I had been a bit more humble about my skills I would probably have MASTERED THE ART the first time. I will definitely make this recipe again. The only change I might make is to use less butter and add some olive oil. I have gotten out of the habit of eating a lot of butter and this dish tastes BUTTERY!  Potatoes and butter are a happy combination so I’m not complaining. This dish would be great on a brunch table and I can’t get enough of Prosecco as a brunch treat to go with it, but Amanda may have some other ideas.

Thanks Judith, for everything!
At the beginning, all is well
After eight minutes of cooking, flipped, but underdone
Flipped and flopped and happily on the plate.

Judith Jone's A Potato Dish For Julia
Ingredients:Serves 1

2 new potatoes (about 6 ounces)
1 small clove garlic
4 tsp. butter
Freshly ground pepper
Peel potatoes, and slice them very thin. Peel and mince garlic, then mash it, along with a generous pinch of salt, with the flat side of a large knife until it is a paste. Work about 1/2 teaspoon butter into it.

Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a small pan over medium-low heat; lay in half of potato slices, overlapping slightly, to fill the bottom. Lightly salt and pepper, and smear garlic paste on top. Add rest of potatoes to make a second layer, again overlapping.

Cook, setting a small cover askew on top of pan. After about 8 minutes, turn potatoes, which should be brown on the bottom, by setting a sturdy plate on top of pan and flipping them over onto it. Heat rest of butter in pan, then slide potatoes back in and arrange them as neatly as you can. Cook semicovered for 5 minutes, and uncovered for a couple more minutes, at which point they should be done and browned, both top and bottom. Slide them onto a plate; season with salt and pepper.

Looks great! I can definitely see how the flipping of all the potatoes could be tricky, especially for a novice like myself! Before I comment on the Prosecco, I want to mention how delicious the spinach and mushroom strata turned out! Unbelievable! I plated it with a pretty fall salad, as I mentioned I would (I will provide the recipe in a later post). It looks so beautiful on a dish, though it is a pretty simple meal to prepare. Loved it and will cook it again, and again, and again! And, I must admit, it was a huge hit with my friends! Actually, I brought the leftovers to my brother's "break-the-fast" dinner on Yom Kippur. Once again, everyone loved it!

You mentioned Prosecco for this current recipe. This frizzante, refreshing sparkler is Italy's answer to Champagne. So affordable and delicious, it is the perfect wine to have at all family get-togethers, either as an aperitif, or complement to a meal. I can drink it anytime, anyplace. It is so affordable that it's perfect for large crowds as well, alone or mixed with orange juice (mimosa), or even a touch of peach nectar (bellini). The grape used for this crowd-pleaser is actually called Prosecco, and is grown in Italy's Veneto region. One of our best-selling Prosecco's in the shop is made by Riondo. They also make a Rose which is equally delicious.  Both sell for $9.99. Bisol also makes outstanding Prosecco, more towards the $20 price range. And, Sorelle Bronca is a newcomer to our Prosecco line-up. It's elegant and crisp and makes a wonderful alternative to the higher priced Champagnes. Sorelle Bronca sells for $17.99. The range of Prosecco's in the $20 and under price range is tremendous - there is really no need to spend more than that. My favorite selections are actually all under $15. This pleasing bubbly is a must-have for any Brunch! But I always bring a bottle (or two) whenever I am invited to someone's house for an occasion, be it dinner...or just because!


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