Monday, April 20, 2015

Spiced Potato Wedges with Mayonnaise

Well, it's become beans, greens and procrastination Monday around here. The beans and greens turned out pretty well, but I feel I've really outdone myself on the procrastination. It's 6:55pm and my gross daily output is two pots of beans, one completely useless phone call with a school administrator, and a new record for refusing to put on my pants. I've also eaten at least half a batch of mayonnaise.

M*A*S*H should not be on Netflix.



Approximately two years and a couple false starts ago, this mayonnaise and potato situation was on the shortlist for my newly minted blog. The mayonnaise was the first thing which I ever loved my immersion blender for, and having tasted it I immediately started brainstorming ways to eat more. Ms. Wednesday, from whom I took my inspiration, suggested roast chicken, but the vegetarian in me settled with spicy potatoes.

That paragraph makes it sound like I ate my immersion blender. Grammar makes things much more interesting, don't you think?

These days, I make the potatoes as an excuse to eat garlic-and-anchovy spiked mayonnaise. I think the general idea came from Cesar's, a tapas restaurant my family used to eat at in Oakland: they made a saucy, spicy potato-wedge and aioli situation that we always ordered. Someday I'll get my hands on their cookbook (or, ahem, just borrow it from my mother) and find the real recipe, but for now the jenkety version works just fine.

Actually, until I decided to write about it, there wasn't a recipe- my process consisted of chopping some potatoes, dumping half the contents of my spice drawer over the top, and tossing the whole mess into a very hot oven before eating an unreasonable amount of mayonnaise. Just for you, oh nonexistant reader, I took measurements. If I were you, I would be impressed by my devotion... or my commitment to not writing my microbial ecology paper.

Spicy Potato Wedges and Mayonnaise
Mayo adapted from Andrea Reusing by way of the Wednesday Chef

Note: Despite my initial elation, I generally make the mayonnaise the low-tech way, with a whisk (probably because I've eaten my immersion blender). I therefore make my mayonnaise sitting- I hold the bowl between my legs, pour oil with my left hand and whisk with my right. If you have an immersion blender, feel free to use it- I've given instructions for both.

For the Mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 anchovy filet, chopped finely
salt
1/2 -1tsp lemon juice
1/3-1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs olive oil

For the Potatoes
4 very large russet potatoes
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder, or more to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the potatoes into thin wedges; I usually accomplish this by first cutting them in half lengthwise, then cutting each half into five or six long wedges. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes first with the olive oil, then with the spices, thoroughly coating potatoes. Dump the potatoes onto a baking tray, then put in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are browned crisp at the edges. At least once during that time you should open the oven and toss the potatoes around, to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise!

If working by hand, put the egg yolk in a bowl and whisk for about a minute. Add the anchovy, garlic, salt and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Whisking continuously, drizzle or drip oil slowly (I recommend a glass measuring cup with a lip) until all the oil is mixed in or the mixture is emulsified to your liking.

If using an immersion blender: put the egg yolk in a wide-mouthed jar and blend for 30 seconds. Add garlic, anchovy, lemon and salt, then blend again. With the blender on, drizzle the oil in slowly until all the oil is mixed in or the mixture is emulsified to your liking.

To finish, dip potatoes in mayonnaise. Apologize to your arteries.









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