October 2009

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Well that was tasty. A providence dinner of sorts – I was given some freshly-picked broadbeans and some freshly-dug potatoes. I’ve actually, and this is both a personal embarrassment and an indictment of how stuffed up things are with food generally, never had a fresh potato.

The two make a nice pairing for a few reasons; colour contrast, different textures, slightly bitter and slightly earthy. I thought a mayonnaise would bind them together as a lush potato salad but then worried that the fresh taste would get swamped in fatty goo. So olive oil it was and some chopped leek for an aromatic and a bit of chopped coppa for the taste element meaty. And so…

4 fresh potatoes, diced
a cup of broadbeans (velvety pod goes but don’t strip it down to the inner pod)
a couple of inches of leek, finely chopped
a few slices of coppa, torn into small bits
EVOO

Boil the potato to cooked but firm and while you’re doing that you can steam the beans on top – they work out about the same time. Remove and rinse in cold water.
Sautee the leek in a good solid splash of olive oil and then add the coppa and cook until lightly brown but not crispy. Add the beans and potato and stir through until heated; gently mind, it’s not a stirfry.
Season and serve.

Meanwhile, in the freezer was some mackerel from my brother-in-law in Darwin. Being not quite so fresh, a bit of ornamentation was in order so it became a gratin.

two bits of mackerel, defrosted, skin removed and chopped into several pieces
a small red onion, sliced
clove of garlic
glass of white wine
a cup of panko breadcrumbs (redundancy noted)
tsp of paprika
a reasonable bit of feta cheese, cubed

Gently soften the onion and garlic in a suitably sized casserole dish. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add the fish, cover tightly and cook for 10 minutes in a 190C oven. Meanwhile, toss the breadcrumbs with the paprika. Remove the casserole from the oven and top the fish with the breadcrumbs and the feta. Return it to the oven and cook until the top is lightly browned.

Serve the two together next to each other on a plate and you can combine at will. It’s really rather good.

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