Squid and Strawberries

Like I said, caption titles are hard. There are days when I wonder, what am I going to call this post? I can only do so many things with ‘Dinner’ before it gets boring.

A while ago, Mark ooohed and aaaahed over a plate of potatoes, so I thought I’d do a mini-demo which, coincidentally enough, is in line with last night’s dinner.

I’ve found that perfect fried potatoes requires three things: the right type of potato, the right type and amount of cooking fat and high heat.

Some potatoes are more conducive to baking and mashing than roasting. These potatoes are high in starch and consequently have a dry, mealy texture. Idaho potatoes and Russet Burbanks fall into this category.

Some are ideal for roasting, soups and barbecuing, because they tend to hold their shape when cooked. These potatoes are relatively high in moisture and sugar, but low in starch. Red-skinned potatoes, Yellow Finns and Ruby Crescents fall into this category.

Some potatoes such as Yukon Golds, Bintjes and Purple Peruvians fall in the middle, “all-purpose” category. They are moister than baking potatoes and will hold together in boiling water. They are particularly well-suited to roasting, pan frying, and using in soups, stews, and gratins. They can be baked, mashed, and fried, but will not produce the same results as baking potatoes.

When you’re making fried potatoes, the fat of choice is butter. I prefer unsalted butter. This gives you a measure of control over the final dish. Using salted butter in place of unsalted means you have to adjust the amount of actual salt you add to the recipe. Since most recipes calling for butter also call for salt, this sounds like it would be a simple process, but without knowing just how much salt is factored into the salted butter, it’s difficult. If you do use salted butter, reduce 1/4 teaspoon salt for each 1/4 pound stick of salted butter used.

By the way, butter is good (as in fat carries flavor), so if you’re the kind of person who’s anti-fat and anti-salt, this blog won’t be for you.

This is about 4 medium Bintje potatoes that have been peeled and sliced about 1/4″ thick. I’m frying them in 2 T. unsalted butter over medium-high heat. After roughly 10 to 15 minutes, they should look like this:

At this point, they don’t need anything other than a pinch of salt. They’re perfect all by themselves….unless you’re like me, who had other ideas.

Camarales y patatas al ajilloSquid with garlic and potatoes

1 lb. squid, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
chopped parsley
fried potatoes

Sprinkle squid with salt. Toss and let sit for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the garlic, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to color, about one minute. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add the squid. Cook, stirring, until squid are cooked through, about five minutes. Remove from heat, fold in fried potatoes. Stir. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Dessert was fresh strawberries with Nutella crème anglaise.

1/2 cup strawberries, trimmed and sliced
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon Nutella

Combine egg yolks, milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking almost constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle and you’ll need to start over. Add Nutella and whisk into sauce.

Drizzle sauce over strawberries, garnish with mint and serve. Leftover crème anglaise can be turned into creme brûlée or ice cream if quantity permits. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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anna brones

writer + artist + activist

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