Monday, December 08, 2008
One sweltering summer evening I watched a young couple in a restaurant order and share a single plate of kong xin cai, stir fried with garlic. What a perfect dinner, I thought. This is the same idea, fortified a bit with potatoes for winter. When I lived in Canada and used to come home and need to eat in a hurry, I would slice a potato and layer it on a baking sheet, drizzle with butter, and broil the thing while I fried an egg or made a salad to go with it. Everything would be ready in a couple of minutes. In China it is easy to buy tiny round potatoes, already cleaned and ready for roasting. You just need a little oil (or some other fat) and salt, and I often toss in a few cloves of garlic to roast alongside.
Toss one pound of potatoes, either small or cut into small cubes or slices for roasting, with a tablespoon of fat such as melted butter or other oil (I am using beef fat, which is half the price of butter and is readily available at the farmer's market here since many styles of Sichuan hot pot float a layer of beef fat on top of the spicy broth.) Add some salt to taste; if you are using melted bacon fat you won't need much salt). Lay potatoes in a baking pan or dish and roast or broil at high heat Watch carefully; you want them a little browned but not burned.
While potatoes are cooking slice three or four large mushrooms and chop half a pound of chard or shanghai bok choy. Mince three cloves of garlic (or less if you like). When potatoes are nearly ready heat two tablespoons of oil over high heat in a frying pan, add garlic and mushrooms, and when they are really sizzling add greens. Cook them til they are pretty soft, a bit past the normal al dente stir fry. Pile the potatoes on two plates and spoon greens overtop, letting the potatoes soak up the garlicky juice from the greens.
Posted by Pepper at 8:45 PM