Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pan Fried Potatoes with Orange Sherry Aioli

Another excellent side from Barton Seaver's For Cod and Country.  Seaver recommends serving this dish as a pre-dinner snack; setting out some toothpicks alongside.  Also makes a perfect accompaniment to steak, roasted chicken or any hearty fish.  I tried pairing these with the Warm Poached Salmon in Red Wine Sauce, which has a very soft and delicate quality.  The Orange-Sherry Aioli has a taste similar to chipotle sauce and overpowered the salmon.  When I make this dish again, I'll probably serve it with a seared filet.  Also note, it is hard to make small qualities of the aioli.  Plan on using the rest as a topping for veggies, meat or even poached eggs.  Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (I subbed with Balsamic Vinegar, and the result was excellent)
1 clove garlic, grated on a Microplane, plus 4 cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
Juice of 1/2 orange
1 cup canola oil
1 pound russet or Yukon gold potatoes, left unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

For the aioli, whisk together the egg yolk, vinegar, grated garlic, paprika, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until well combined.  Add the oil in a slow, steady stream so that it is incorporated as you whisk (if you add the oil too quickly, the sauce will break and you will have to start again.)  As you whisk and slowly incorporate the oil, the sauce will begin to thicken into a mayonnaise-like consistency.  Once all the oil has been added, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready for use.

Place the potatoes in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover them.  Season generously with salt and bring to a simmer.  You are only cooking the potatoes until they are about three-quarters done, so keep an eye on them and stay close.  It should take 4 to 5 minutes.  Drain off the water and cool the potatoes in the refrigerator on a plate or small baking sheet.

When the potatoes have cooled, heat a large heavy-bottomed saute pan over high heat until it begins to smoke.  Add the olive oil and sliced garlic and slightly brown the garlic (this will only take a few seconds.)  As soon as they begin to color, add the potatoes, and toss to coat with the oil.  Make sure the potatoes are in one single layer and are frying in the oil.  There should be enough oil so that the potatoes are about half submerged.  When the potatoes are brown on one side, toss to continue cooking the other sides.  When the potatoes are crispy, remove the potatoes and garlic slices from the oil using a slotted spoon, then carefully discard the oil.

Check the aioli for seasoning.  Place a giant dollop of it on the side of the crisped potatoes and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

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