If you are on some New Year health kick, juice cleanse, paleo, cabbage soup diet … look away now.
Normally, if I want do so something crispy with potatoes I will do oven roasted chips (cut potatoes into wedge shapes, throw in hot fat, cook for around an hour) or spicy fried potatoes. But on Monday, with a 38°C Tuesday looming, there was no way I was putting my oven on for an hour or so. Added to this that we’ve been eating so much spicy food lately I’m kind of over the idea of spicy fried potatoes (yes, I know, heresy!) that I just had to find an alternative to go with the night’s pan fried salmon and salad dinner.
And thanks to the magic of my delicious account, I was rescued by this idea for pommes de terre sarladaises. Pommes de terre is the potato part and ‘sarladaises’ refers to the town of Sarlat-la-Canéda (or just Sarlat) in the Dordogne département of France. My French geography is passable and to me that means almost nothing – perhaps due east of Bordeaux is more helpful – south-ish-and-middle-ish.
It matters little where this dish comes from. What you need to know is that it is good. It’s not healthy and if you don’t hoard duck fat in your fridge, it may necessitate a trip to the shops (or a change in habits). But once you’ve enjoyed its crunchy, crispy, fatty goodness … well, you won’t be looking back.
This is easy but it takes a little patience (but not actually a lot of cooking time). We made the mistake of putting fish and potatoes on at the same time. I’d recommend starting the potatoes earlier and obviously ensure you have the fat good and hot … and plenty spare as you’ll need to add extra to the pan as you go along.
And make plenty – if you have to share, the potatoes won’t stretch nearly as far as you expect them to …
- 4-5 potatoes, cubed
- 1-2 tbsp polenta
- 4-5 tbsp duck fat
- 1 clove garlic
- 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley (from the freezer is fine)
- Cube the potatoes (no need to peel them unless you really want to) and boil until cooked.
- Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Add 1 tbsp of polenta and put the lid on and give the potatoes a good shake. Add the second tbsp of polenta and repeat the shaking.
- You can do this in advance.
- When ready to eat, heat a generous tbsp of duck fat in a large pan over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally. You'll need to add extra fat as you go along and obviously don't let the pan get so hot you burn the potatoes.
- Mid way through the cooking, add a crushed, finely chopped clove of garlic and, once the potatoes are as crispy as you want, stir through the chopped parsley and then serve immediately.