Monday, April 18, 2011
Crispy Potato and Garlic Cake
With most of my friends off to the desert for Coachella this weekend, I had a pretty legit excuse to stay in, get organized, watch movies, go for a lot of long runs, and try some new recipes. Saturday's dark clouds and nighttime lightning storms made for an especially cozy night perfect for huddling under blankets and watching Harry Potter on iTunes (which, incidentally, is a terrifying movie--kids must be braver these days).
The rain and thunder put me in the mood to eat something simple and homey and a bit decadent for dinner, so I put together this potato cake from Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook. It was inspired by the potatoes they serve at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, L'Ami Louis, in Paris (if you haven't been, it's more than worth making a pilgrimage for the next time you're in the City of Lights--their roast chicken is on another level). As soon as my potatoes were out of the oven, I piled them up in a big bowl and took them straight to bed, where Harry Potter and a pile of pillows was awaiting me. Pretty perfect. xo
Crispy Potato & Garlic Cake
Adapted from My Father's Daughter, by Gwyneth Paltrow
2 large baking potatoes (each about 2/3 pound), peeled
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon duck fat (the tablespoon is for the pan, or you can use butter)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves peeled garlic, 2 crushed, 1 very finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the broiler.
Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes and let them cool before slicing them into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Heat a spoonful each of the duck fat and the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 of the crushed garlic cloves and as many potato slices as can fit in one layer. Cook for about 3 minutes a side, or until lightly browned. Remove to a paper-towel-lined pate and repeat with the remaining fat and potatoes, switching out the garlic cloves when they get too brown.
Coat a small (6-8-inch) cast-iron skillet with the tablespoon of duck fat. Line the bottom with a single layer of potato slices, sprinkle with salt, and add another layer. Repeat this process, pressing each layer down hard with the back of a wooden spoon and lightly salting as you go until you've layered all your potatoes. Pressing them down is what will keep the cake together, so don't be too gentle. Stick the cake under the broiler until really browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Invert it onto a plate and scatter with the 1 clove of finely minced garlic, parsley, and bit more salt if you like. Cut into wedges and serve.
Cook's Note: I didn't have duck fat handy, and I certainly wasn't about to venture out in the rain to procure some, so I used butter instead. It worked out fine. Also, the smallest cast-iron skillet I had was 10 inches, so my potatoes didn't come out as cake-like as I would have liked, but trust me, the flavor didn't suffer a bit.