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Patate e Porri

This is a winter version of Fagiolini e patate, one that substitutes leeks for green beans in the linked recipe. If you don’t have leeks, you can use other winter greens such as chicory, escarole, kale, chard or watercress. Another version that I’m especially fond of contains a variety of wild mushrooms — shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms and oyster mushrooms are all wonderful and delicious alternatives.

One food resolution I have for 2013 is to try to reduce the amount of kitchen waste that I regularly throw out, especially produce. I’ve always found it silly (not to mention wasteful) that recipes often call for only the white and light green parts of leeks. The dark green parts are edible too. I love them in preparations such as insalata di ceci e porri (chickpea and leek salad), gratinéed leeks, or as a base for vegetable stock. In fact, much of what you may think of as “trash” can be re-purposed in new, exciting and delicious ways.

Patate e porri

Patate e Porri (“Potatoes and Leeks”)

1 lb. unpeeled red-skinned or new potatoes, scrubbed
olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced (both green and white parts)
sea salt, to taste
freshly milled black pepper, to taste
chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (for garnish, optional)

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until they’re mostly tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Test them by piercing one with a fork. The potatoes should give a little resistance. Drain. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them, slice them into 1/4″ thick slices and set aside. Alternately, you can slice them without peeling them. (They’re delicious either way.)

Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat along with the shallots and garlic. Fry the garlic until it begins to color, about 1 minute, but do not let it brown. Add the potatoes and leeks, using a wooden spoon or spatula to mash the potatoes slightly. Sauté until the potatoes begin to crisp up and turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with white wine vinegar (if desired) and Italian parsley. Serve at once.

Time: About one hour, including prep.

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