Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Fennel, Kale, and Gruyere

My mom invited us to dinner on Friday and then on Sunday, dropped off enough leftovers to feed us all for a couple more days.

In between, we made Saturday dinner together:

Matt made some polenta with onions and fennel seed. He then cooled it, cut it into pieces and fried it. This was not altogether successful because the polenta was still quite wet and soft. We put it in the oven to dry it out, then saved the rest and tried it again this morning for a little breakfast on-the-go. It was nice to have something warm for breakfast.

I made the following, based on a recipe from Patricia Wells' Vegetable Harvest. The original called for bacon. I used some smoked paprika, fennel, and kale. It was good but, I must say, not as good as the simple roasted potatoes with lemon. The kids were thrilled and devoured it.

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Fennel, Kale, and Gruyere.

There is plenty of room for improvisation here; it is not at all a complicated undertaking and I think most people have probably made something similar before. The original recipe calls for yellow-fleshed potatoes, and while I used the red potatoes from Cherry Grove, I am leaving that detail intact because I prefer yellow. Similarly, I only had a small amount of gruyere, so I supplemented with some organic monterey jack that was sitting in the cheese drawer, but I think all gruyere would have been better. Also, the original recipe was obviously meant to be served as a small side, because it called for only 4 potatoes, resulting in 8 servings. We made as many as I could fit on my baking pan, or until I got bored with scrubbing and prepping. It is definitely scalable.

8-10 yellow-fleshed potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more for sauteeing
sea salt
1 fennel bulb
1 small bunch kale or other dark leafys
1 clove garlic
smoked paprika
1 cup grated gruyere
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Extra large ones may be cut in quarters, as needed. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 2 pinches (maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons) of sea salt. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down and place in the oven to roast for about 40 minutes, or until tender.

While the potatoes are roasting, mince the garlic, core and dice the fennel, and cut the kale into bite-sized pieces. Warm a bit of oil in a saute pan, add the garlic and fennel and saute for a few minutes, until softened. Add about 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika or more, to taste, and continue to cook a few minutes more. Add the kale and saute until wilted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with a touch of salt.

When the potatoes have emerged from the oven, turn them over on the pan and use a paring knife to score the face lightly with a little hash mark. Grind black pepper over the lot of them. Distribute the smoky fennel and kale mixture atop that, and then sprinkle the cheese. Finish with a light dusting of smoked paprika and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with minced chives and serve.
We have a lot of our share left over:
a lot of hot peppers (I hope they are not going moldy)
a small head of butter lettuce
a few scallions
a small eggplant
a few bell peppers
2 small winter squashes
a handful of beets
a few potatoes
2 small watermelons

Yikes. We will need to get organized. We had plans for most of this food, but the leftovers gave us a way out. On the agenda for this week: chiles rellenos with summer vegetables if the poblanos survived, marinated beets to be eaten with arugula and goat cheese on some fresh bread, watermelon salad or juice or cocktails (see Fanny Singer's agua fresca recipe from F+W).

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