Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes w/ Lemon & Garlic Aioli

Recently I pulled a Rachel Ray when I decided to recreate one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite restaurants at home. Anyone who watches RR knows what I mean. Almost every episode she is yapping about how something she ate at some restaurant was so good that it inspired her to make her 30 min meal. I would listen to her and kind of think that it was a cop out. I mean...come up with your own dishes Rachel!

But now my attitude has changed being that I have moved and can no longer eat at some of my favorite NYC restaurants. One of my favorite places in Harlem (which will remain nameless for fear of a law suit) had this fingerling potato appetizer that I absolutely loved and I have been craving them so much that I decided to go ahead and make them myself! Which actually wasn't that hard because every time I ordered and ate them, I would sit and marvel at their delicious simplicity and tell myself, or my friend Melissa who I always went to this place with, that I could make these!

So here is my first successful attempt at recreating a favorite dish and even putting my own little spin on it. Serve them as a satisfying starter! Anyone can make french fries but this takes them to the next level.

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes w/ Lemon & Garlic Aioli

1 Bag of Fingerling Potatoes
Salt & Pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish (finely chopped)
1 small clove garlic (grated or minced)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
zest of 1/2 a lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Put the fingerling potatoes in a medium sized pot, add about a tablespoon
of salt, and fill the pot with cold water. Put the pot over high heat and once the water
has come to a boil, allow the potatoes to cook for 10 minutes (or until fork tender).

While the potatoes are cooking you can make the aioli. Mix the mayo, parsley, garlic,
lemon juice and zest together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and
set aside.*

After the potatoes have boiled, drain and run cold water over
them. Once they have cooled enough for you to handle, slice
each fingerling potato in half lengthwise. Then, heat about 3-
4 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. You want
the pan to be very hot, but be careful not to burn the oil. Next,
place each fingerling flesh side down in the pan and allow to
pan fry for 3-5 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
(you may have to do this in 2-3 batches)

After the potatoes have turned golden brown, remove them
from the pan and place them on a paper towel lined plate.
Season liberally with salt and sprinkle with parsley. Arrange
potatoes on a plate and serve with the aioli as a dipping sauce.

*Time Saving Note: You can make the aioli ahead of time
because it gets better as it sits. Just cover with saran wrap
and refrigerate.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Puff Pastry: Advice From A Novice

As promised, I am making a post about puff pastry. I know...yawn! However, my recipe for Chicken a la King is best served over puff pastry cups and because there was already so much going on with that recipe, I decided to talk about it separately.

Pepperidge Farm makes two types of puff pastry available in most grocery store freezers: shells and sheets. (click here to go to their website to learn more) Ideally, puff pastry shells are what would work perfectly for the Chicken a la King so if you find those, absolutely buy them and follow the directions on the box. But if you are like me and cannot find puff pastry shells in your store and have to travel 90 blocks to only find the puff pastry sheets, go to this website to learn how to make puff pastry shells from the sheets: Puff Pastry How To

I found this on cooksillustrated.com (my new obsession) and because all of the directions are there under "Puff Pastry Cups" there is no need to repeat them. But if you think that puff pastry is fancy and hard to work with, just know that I improvised and used a wine bottle as my rolling pin and a glass top as my cookie cutter. I posted the pictures of my first batch above to show that my cups did not turn out perfect but it did not matter once they were covered with creamy chicken goodness!