Tuesday, January 17, 2012

butter-fried potato and apple slices with porcini mushrooms, shallots, parsley and sage

Man, I can't believe how January is already flying by! And here I am, still blogging about something I made back in October. Luckily, this meal was mainly root vegetables and apples, which store pretty well throughout the winter, so this is still fairly seasonal. As you'll see in the photo above, there were three components of this meal: maple carrot turnips, garlicky turnip tops and, for the main event, potato and apple slices fried in butter with shallots, porcini mushrooms, sage and parsley.

The first two recipes are ones that I've written about before, but the potatoes and apples were a new dish to me. This was not entirely of my own invention, as I definitely read somewhere about a dish made with that exact combination of ingredients, but I had to improvise from there.

I peeled the potatoes and apples, and sliced them into wedges. I used apples that I picked up in Connecticut, near my friend Hannah's house. Just for fun, here's a photo of Hannah and me in the orchard with our friend Andrew. I don't remember what kind of apples we were in front of here, but we had a great time wandering through the orchard, trying each variety and filling up bags with as many apples as we could carry. Laura and I ate many of the apples raw, but rest assured that there will more apple recipes to come.

So, yeah, I fried up the apples and potatoes in some butter. The apples I used had really sweet delicious skin, and I couldn't bear to part with their bright red beauty, so after it had all been cooking awhile, I tossed a bunch of those in too. Honestly, I just do anything I can to avoid a brown plate of food. It looks much prettier with those, as I'm sure you'll agree, but I wouldn't do it unless the skins are nice enough to eat on their own. After a couple of minutes, I added in some minced shallots.

As the apples and potatoes cooked, I dehydrated some porcini mushroom for about ten minutes in a little bit of hot water, and then sliced those up as well. I poured the mushroom water in with the potatoes, and let that cook down. Once the potatoes were fork tender, I removed everything from the pan, and then fried up a little sage in the butter that was left behind. Mix together the sage, potatoes, apples and mushrooms, sprinkle wit a little parsley, and serve. I'm no recipe writer, as I'm sure you know, but I'll give it my best shot. Amounts, as always, are only guidelines.

Butter-Fried Potato and Apple Slices with Porcini Mushrooms, Shallots, Parsley and Sage

small handful of dried porcini mushrooms, plus enough hot water to cover them
1-2 tbsp butter
4 small waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
2 apples, peeled and sliced into wedges
salt and pepper
½ a shallot, minced
½ tbsp minced sage leaves
½ tbsp minced parsley

First, pour boiling water over your porcini mushrooms and set aside for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Then, melt butter in a frying pan. When hot and sizzling, add the potatoes and apples, and season with salt and pepper. After five minutes, add the shallots. Cook for five minutes longer, then add the water from the porcinis, first having removed the mushrooms. Be careful to pour the water slowly so any grit or dirt will stay behind. Cook for at least 15 minutes longer, or until potatoes are fork tender.

Meanwhile, slice up the mushrooms, and transfer to a bowl. Once potatoes and apples are cooked, remove them to bowl with mushrooms, and fry the sage in the pan, adding additional butter if necessary. Toss sage and fresh parsley with the mushrooms, potatoes and apples, and serve.

Remove the mushrooms from the water.

Also, in the interest of completeness, let me re-post the two turnip recipes, which have served me well since my friend Megan gave them too me shortly after I began my first food co-op share back in June of 2009. As usual, I never worry too much about quantities in my recipes, so much like the potato recipe, the amounts here are only the roughest of estimates. I hope that is not a deterrent, since it's easy to make the combination of these ingredients taste really, really good.

The turnip tops are sauteed in bacon fat with a bunch of chopped garlic and finished off with a healthy amount of salt and pepper, plus a little splash of red wine vinegar. A very simple, straightforward presentation, but delicious. If you can get turnips with the greens still attached, they are well worth eating, and one of the tastier leafy greens I've come across in my food co-op adventures.

However, even if you can't get the greens, don't let that stop you from buying turnips, because they taste freaking amazing with carrots and maple syrup. This dish is what sweet and savory is all about. The maple syrup really brings out the natural sweet flavors of the carrots and turnips, forming a delicious buttery glaze fortified with just enough reduced chicken stock for some salty goodness. I love this, and I hope you will too!

Caramelized Maple Turnips and Carrots

6 small white turnips
2 carrots
3 or 4 tbsp real maple syrup
quarter stick of butter
1 cup stock (or enough to cover the carrots and turnips in the pan)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Wash turnips and remove the greens, which can be cooked separately. Chop into small slices. Peel carrots, and slice into thin disks. Place carrots and turnips in a pot, and pour in enough stock to more or less cover them. Cook on medium high heat until carrots and turnips are almost cooked all the way through and the stock has mostly boiled off. Then add butter and syrup, and let that cook down until it gets nice and caramelized. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve to guests who won't mind if you lick the plate.

Braised Turnip Greens
6 turnip tops
1-2 cloves garlic, thinly
1 tbsp bacon grease
red wine or apple cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Wash and chop turnip greens. Peel and mince garlic. Heat bacon grease in pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and turnip greens and cook until tender. Serve with a drizzle of vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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