Andy's fried potatoes, sides for summer cookouts, NYC itineraries
Greetings eaters and readers. What’s for dinner? Tonight, we’re having bean burritos with pickled onions, and at some point in the next few days, I’ll be auditioning this summer squash spaghetti at my table, zucchini haters be damned. (Sorry, entire family.) In other news, this just in for vegetable lovers: Amanda Cohen, the James Beard-award winning chef of New York vegetarian mecca Dirt Candy is offering a five-lesson course* on salad. Yes, salad! If this doesn’t seem exciting to you, please excuse yourself from this space, and then consider that this is the woman who gave us beet pastrami and eggplant tiramisu. See you in class! And now, your weekly Three Things…
*paywall after four
1. Andy’s Amazing Fried Potatoes
On our last night in South Carolina, Abby had a very specific request for dinner: shrimp rolls, some kind of salad involving tomatoes (they are already so good and sweet down there), and her dad’s fried potatoes. To be clear: not her mom’s! While my purview is strictly the mashed and the baked when it comes to potatoes, Andy is the one we all turn to for frying, and if you look at this photo, you can see why. Crispy and golden on the outside, creamy in the inside, he nails it every time. He’ll also have you know, they’re so easy: The only real secret, which is barely even a secret, is that you have to par-boil the potatoes for five minutes before frying. Here’s how he made this batch:
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into irregular slivers as shown
3 to 4 tablespoons oil (vegetable, peanut, or olive in a pinch)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Parboil the potatoes: In a medium-large pot, cover potato pieces with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for only five minutes. (No need to cook all the way through, since they will finish in the skillet.) Drain the potatoes and let them sit for 10 minutes, so they dry a little.
Place a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the potatoes in as even a layer as possible, the garlic powder and more salt. Let them sit for five minutes without touching or tossing. Then shake and toss a little and cook another five minutes until they look golden brown. Test one to make sure it’s cooked through. Serve hot with ketchup.
Related: Andy’s Spicy Diced Potatoes from the “Hooks” chapter of The Weekday Vegetarians, page 182.
2. For Your Cookout Consideration
While I’m not exactly turning my nose up at, say, the Tamarind-Glazed Grilled Chicken or Soy-Glazed Pork Chops or the Hebrew Nationals sizzling away on the grill at a summer cookout, I will say that these days, my eyes usually wander first to the side and salad offerings. Maybe you’re looking for some inspiration in that department? If you aren’t into frying potatoes like Andy, you could venture into no-mayo-potato-salad land with trusty old Double Mustard or German-style; and of course, you want to make sure your peak-season vegetables get star billing and not afterthought treatment: like this tomato-feta tart or a creamy corn Maque Choux or sugar snap pea salad and spicy peanut sauce or gem lettuce salad with Avocado dressing or beets with herby horseradish yogurt and crushed pistachios (above) from The Weekday Vegetarians; You cannot go wrong with a classic slaw but I don’t think anyone would complain if you 2.0’d it with the yogurt-curry slaw (subscribers only) that doubles as a vegetarian main. How great is summer eating?
3. New York City: Three-Part Itineraries
Last week, one of my daughter’s college friends was visiting New York for the first time and asked if we had any suggestions for what to do and see and eat over the course of a single weekend. It was fun (if overwhelming) to think about, and reminded me of a loose formula I used when the girls were young and we’d want to explore a new place (cities or otherwise) without completely exhausting them. We’d pick a neighborhood, then come up with a three-part itinerary that included the following 1) a good outdoorsy walk to get the blood going — think parks, hikes, trails, farms, spots with nice views; 2) a culture hit — defined broadly; small, doable museums, book stores, spice emporiums; and, of course 3) a meal or a treat to keep everyone incentivized. Using this strategy, I wrote up six shorthand itineraries — barely scratching the surface of this great city, but definitely more than enough for a weekend. You should feel free to improve upon them or add any of the other eight thousand neighborhoods in the comment section based on the same formula. I’m especially starving for ideas in Queens and deeper Brooklyn, where one could spend every day of the year exploring something new. Here is the link again.
Related: I’m working on story for Cup of Jo called “Where New Yorkers Eat in New York,” and it’s packed with so many great surprises — look out for that one soon. I’ll be sure to link to it.
P.S. Next Week…
….this newsletter goes on vacation! But subscribers who have signed up for the zoom cooking session on July 7, look for an email with details before the weekend.
Thanks for reading,