Tangled Branches: Satiated

riveting tales of how we sustain ourselves

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Potato and Tomato Tart

This recipe is my conglomeration, but the original inspiration was published in the NY Times, August 20, 2003 in an article by Amanda Hesser. I wasn't keen on the seasonings suggested, so I changed it. It's not difficult, but takes about 3 hours overall. Also, you need to have the oven on a fairly high temperature for several hours, so I usually make this only when the weather is cool enough that I'm not running the air conditioner - I hate to cool and heat the house at the same time.

The basic idea is a base of roasted potato slices topped with roasted tomatoes, flavored with garlic and herbs. I like to make it so there's enough olive oil left in the pan to sop it up with good crusty bread. The original recipe was meant to be a side dish, I think, but for us it's a main dish and serves 2.

First, roast the tomatoes. Amounts are not critical here and ideally the tomatoes should be a thick and meaty variety. For the last batch I used mostly Striped Roman, with smaller amounts of Kellogg's Breakfast and Cherokee Purple. You might as well make a big batch and if there are any leftovers, they'd be great tossed with some pasta. This part is very similar to a recipe in Marcella's Italian Kitchen by Marcella Hazan.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut tomatoes into large pieces, say an inch and a half or 2 inches. Find a roasting pan large enough to hold the tomatoes in a very snug single layer (or even doubled up a bit, but not much). Coat the roasting pan with olive oil and place the cut tomatoes in the pan. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on top (say 1/4 cup to several large tomatoes), and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (remembering that these will shrink in cooking). Place the pan in the oven for 45 minutes. Roughly cut up some garlic cloves, and distribute them over the tomatoes, pushing them down in between the tomato pieces so they don't brown too much. Return the pan to the oven for another 45 minutes or so. You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and the skins starting to blacken. Remove them from the oven and let them cool while you cook the potatoes.

Peel and slice thinly about a pound of potatoes. Coat a round 9 or 10 inch diameter pan with olive oil (a skillet with an ovenproof handle works well here). Beginning at the center, layer half the potato slices in an overlapping spiral. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Make another layer the same as the first. I like to drizzle more olive oil on at this point but the original recipe didn't call for it. Place the pan in the oven (still at 400 degrees) for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are starting get a little browned.

Remove the pan from the oven and spoon some of the roasted tomatoes, garlic and the liquid left in the pan over the center of the potatoes, leaving the edges of the pan tomato-free (think pizza crust). Return the pan to the oven for another 20 minutes or so, until the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped basil and parsley. Let it cool a bit, cut into wedges and serve.

This is a good Saturday night supper with the addition of crusty bread and some good Chianti.

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posted by Entangled at 2:35 PM 2 comments  

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pink Potatoes

Aren't these funky?

See the garden blog for more details on how I grew them. This is about how I cooked them.

I peeled them, which isn't really necessary, and sliced them about 1/4 inch thick. In the frying pan over medium heat, I melted some butter and mixed it with olive oil - about half butter and half olive oil. Use as much as your conscience will allow. When the butter/oil was hot, I added the potato slices, stirred them around a bit, lowered the heat and covered the pan. I stirred them about once every ten minutes until they were mostly cooked through. Then I continued to cook them over higher heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until they were lightly browned. When they were finished cooking, I added salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

We had these twice last weekend, once for dinner and once for brunch. The second time I didn't peel them. It saved the work of peeling them, but I had to work harder on cleaning them, so I think it's a toss-up. I didn't notice much difference in the finished product.

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posted by Entangled at 1:14 PM 0 comments