Saturday, September 11, 2010

Judith Jones' "A Potato Dish for Julia"

This basic recipe comes from Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One. Jones was the editor who took a chance on Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The story behind this dish, which she shares in the cookbook, is very cute -- she was working late one night with Julia Child, who asked her to throw together a "nice little potato dish." Talk about unnerving. But, she made this fast version of potatoes Anna, and it met with Julia's approbation. Whew.

Anyway, in addition to being Julia Child-approved, the basic recipe really is simple and easy to make. I had some bacon and goat cheese that I threw in for fun.* The butter and garlic smell so very good while cooking, but when you finally get around to eating the thing, the goat cheese adds a nice tangy note.

A Potato Dish for Julia
Adapted from Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One

2 or 3 small-to-medium new potatoes (Mai Vue Farms)
1 small garlic clove, minced (my own! German Extra Hardy. is v. pungent)
freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons butter
a strip of bacon, crumbled
a couple teaspoons of goat cheese (Bonnie Blue Farms)

Jones recommends peeling your potatoes -- I didn't. So either peel or don't peel, but in any case, slice them very thin.

Peel and mince the garlic, then, using the flat of a knife or the back of a spoon, mash it with a little salt until it is a paste.

Work a little of the butter into it.

Heat two teaspoons of butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat and lay in half the potato slices, overlapping slightly, to fill the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper them lightly and smear the garlic paste on top. I found it difficult to "smear," so I settled for dotting. I also threw in the goat cheese and bacon here.

Add the remaining layer of potatoes and cook gently, setting a small cover askew on top of the pan. After about 8 minutes, turn the potatoes, which should be brown on the bottom, by setting a small, sturdy plate on top of the pan and flipping the potatoes over onto it. This won't come out perfectly. There are also not pictures of this because it is hard enough to do it, let alone take pictures of yourself doing it.

After heating the remaining butter in the pan, slide the potatoes back in and arrange as neatly as you can. Let them cook, semi-covered, for about 5 minutes, then uncovered a couple minutes more. They'll be nice and brown and delicious. I had these for an early dinner with a lentil salad. Yum.

*And I swear I am not in any way related to Paula Deen.

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