Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Koula's Limnian-French Potatoes

Last year Tony and I experienced these crunch and melt-in-the-mouth potatoes of Koula's for the first time and they were absolutely YUM. I asked her to tell me how she made them and in a few sentences of broken English she gave me the recipe. It was a fairly simple recipe so I didn't write anything down. Back in Melbourne I tried to replicate this dish of potatoes, golden and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and failed miserably.

This year I wanted to make sure I documented every detail in the making of these beautiful potatoes as there were obviously some techniques that went astray by the time I tried to do them again at home in Melbourne. One of the big mistakes I made was misjudging the quantity of cooking fat to use. I'm not used to using great deals of fat in cooking and when Koula said to me last year "You fry the potatoes in a little fat" I assumed she meant about a tablespoon. Watching closely this year I discovered that her idea of "a little fat" is more like a whole cup. Now, don't be put off by this. It is true these potatoes are not ideal for the diet conscious, but they are so good you'll need to put the diet on hold for a day. Koula kept warning me throughout the process "Don't be scared when you see this" each time she added more fat. "It will go away" she continued to reassure me.



Koula and I have lots of fun cooking together in the kitchen:



The type of fat to use is a little ambiguous. The product Koula uses looks like butter but she says it's not. She wasn't sure what to call it but with some translation help from Takis it was determined that it was some kind of margarine. Koula says she uses this product because it doesn't burn, so I guess clarified butter would work just as well.

Koula's Limnian-French Potatoes (serves 8)


Ingredients

2kg potatoes
250g margarine or clarified butter
2–3 teaspoons of salt

Method

Peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Use a potato peeler to round the edges and corners of the potato pieces so there are no sharp edges or pointy corners. It's a bit time consuming but helps the potatoes to cook a lot more evenly.



Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Melt about a third of the margarine or clarified butter over medium to high heat in a heavy-based pan and fry the potatoes all over, turning continually, until they are just starting to brown.



Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish and add the rest of the margarine or clarified butter and salt to the dish. The heat of the potatoes will melt the fat. Stir thoroughly to completely coat the potatoes with the fat and salt.

"Don't be scared when you see this. It will go away."



Bake in oven for 1 hour or until golden and crunchy, testing a potato with a skewer to make sure it is soft in the middle.