Friday, February 6, 2009

The Comforts of Home

Some of you may recall the dish pictured above from the early days of this blog (see the original here). It appeared on the site before I owned a fancy camera, lived in Hells Kitchen, or even had anyone reading this blog but me and that guy in Kuala Lumpur (how he found it remains a mystery). It was one of the dishes that I most wanted to share with the world because to me it's the ultimate comfort food. I figure now that I have more people reading I should resurrect the recipe so everyone can enjoy it. My grandmother used to make it for us after long road trips and eventually taught me how to make it. My mother tells me that I make it just like my grandmother and that's why she asks that I make a batch every time she visits. I'd like to think I've mastered it, but try as I might to think so, I can't help feeling that it would taste better if it came off the stove of an eighty year-old woman in a bathrobe, flashing a loving smile and happily watching me enjoy each bite.

It's during these lean times that a dish like this can be extra handy. As I mentioned in the original post, it began as peasant food. Nothing more is needed than a sack of potatoes (6 or 7 potatoes could easily feed 4 adults), a few eggs and some frying oil. It's affordable, filling, warm, and exceptionally easy to make considering the returns you get on flavor. It's even easy clean-up, since all you need to do is slice the potatoes and fry them up in a non-stick skillet. It's essentially a scramble with potatoes, only here the egg plays second fiddle to the delicious potatoes. The secret is to use Yukon Gold potatoes, which already have an inherent sweetness to them. A little bit of sugar added to the seasoning enhances that natural sweetness, and plays nicely with the salt and pepper also used, for some of that "salty-sweet" flavor that's so popular right now.

I like to eat this dish as a main course by itself, just a heaping plateful of golden goodness, but there are plenty of alternatives. Of course it can be a side dish or starter, but it can also be an ultra-carbo load sandwich. My mother likes to pile the mixture onto a crunchy, warm baguette for a crispy outside and soft, delicate inside, while my dad liked to top it with tomato sauce. When I get carried away and make too much, I like to take the leftovers and wrap them in a tortilla with a little hot sauce. If there's cheese lying around I'll stuff some of that in there for a breakfast burrito of sorts, and if I'm feeling less frugal I'll stick some sliced avocado in there, too. So as you can see, it's actually a super versatile dish. So, just in case you need a reminder of how the recipe goes, or if it's your first time seeing it, here it is again. I hope you take it and make it your own, and that it gives you as much comfort as it always has me.

Patatas Revueltas con Huevo (Potato and Egg Scramble) 
(Makes 1 very large or 2 single servings)

3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced no thicker than 1/8” 
vegetable oil 
2 eggs 
2 Tbsp sugar 

1. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large pan. 

2. Salt (to taste) and sugar potatoes then carefully add to the oil. The oil should almost cover the potatoes but not quite (they will shrink as they cook). When the potatoes are about halfway cooked through and the bottom layer is crunchy and browned, flip them over and cook until done. 

3. Remove potatoes from the oil and onto a plate, then drain oil from pan (you can save it for future use) and return it to the heat (on low). Add potatoes back to the pan and crack both eggs over them. Break the yolks with a spatula and toss everything to combine, repeating every 5 seconds or so until eggs are just cooked through and soft. Enjoy!


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