Saturday, February 20, 2010

Patatas Bravas - Roasted Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Aioli

I'm always on the lookout for new side dishes or light entrees. Sure, local and seasonal veggies, prepared simply with good ingredients, are always delicious, but sometimes I just want something a little different. And while crispy oven-roasted potatoes are always a good idea, sometimes more actually IS better, as is the case with these - patatas bravas, a Spanish potato dish.

Take delicious, crispy, oven roasted potatoes, blanched and then roasted at a high temp with olive oil, salt and pepper to get all golden brown and delicious. Good, right? Then add a slow-simmered tomato sauce, enriched with spicy red pepper and an unexpected but welcome hit of cumin. Mmmm, even better. Now cut the acidity and spiciness with some creamy, garlicky aioli, and you've got the world's best side starch, or an awesome light lunch with some blanched or roasted veggies like haricot vert or zucchini, or with a nice crisp salad.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Endive and Potato Salad with Smoked Trout

Seattle is the land of smoked salmon, but I have a secret: as much as I love the salmon, I really love smoked trout. It's a little milder than salmon, with a sweeter flavor, but it still has a nice, meaty texture and pleasant saltiness. Unfortunately, it's a little bit hard to find - 10 kinds of smoked salmon, or even salmon candy, is readily available, but refrigerated smoked trout (I've tried some in cans and didn't care for it) is only available in the more specialty stores around here.

That's part of the reason I love this salad, it's a great use of smoked trout. Paired with crunchy and slightly bitter endives, creamy potatoes, and a lovely light and lemony dressing, and lots of fresh herbs, this salad hits all the notes for me - crunchy, creamy, lightly bitter in a very pleasant way, meaty, salty, tangy, all good. All this without croutons, which I dearly love (especially when using leftover La Brea ciabatta and frying them lightly in bacon fat), but this salad needs none!