Recipe #63 :Lavender-Infused Potatoes with Garlic & Fennel
Posted Feb 11 2010 5:31am
I find it comical that most potato-based recipes typically list amounts in pounds. Example: Such-and-such recipe calls for a pound & a half of potatoes.
It sure sounds like a whole lot of potatoes, doesn't it?! Makes it sound like one is about to feed an entire army. :)
A pound of potatoes. Hmmm, how many potatoes is that, exactly? I've seen suggested estimates on the web ranging anywhere from 5-6 potatoes to 10-12 potatoes. Whoa, now that's confusing, eh?!
And c'mon, when we're in throes of cooking, how many of us just so happen to have our food scales handy? Yeah, right. ;)
I don't know about you, but I only have a mini food scale, & there's clearly no way on earth that I can measure a pound of potatoes in that. ;) (Kitchen space is at a premium, & there's no room for one of those industrial-sized scales you see in the supermarket for weighing fruits & vegetables & such. LOL.)
Why can't they just make it a whole lot easier on all of us & list the required amounts of potatoes in a simplified way?! For example: How about just indicating that the recipe requires "10-12 medium-sized red potatoes," etc., ya know?! Or, if people want to be really anal-retentive about it, how about listing "10-12 potatoes with the approximate dimensions of 3 x 2 x 1.5"? Haha.
Of course, I know why they do this. That is, aside from unintentionally driving the rest of us nuts. :) Not all potatoes are the same size & weight, & the type also can make a big difference in that calculation (i.e., fingerling, red, Idaho, etc.). So, it's next to impossible to know things like "how many potatoes are there in 1 lb." I might as well ponder the meaning of life, the universe, & everything , while I'm at it. :)
I've also seen estimates like 1 lb. equals 3-4 servings. However, the next logical question would, of course, be, "How large is a serving exactly?" Is this particular serving a main course serving or a side-dish serving? In my food universe, a potato dish isn't normally a main-course dish, but who knows what other people are thinking?! ;) And what about calculations for people whose eyes are larger than their stomaches or the other way around? I think that might change the answer a bit as well. :)
Also, I'm one of those cooks who doesn't get really that hung up on exact amounts anyways, so for the purposes of preserving the sanity of myself & the readers of this blog, you are never ever going to see me listing potatoes in poundage here. Nope, sorry. Just not gonna do it. :) Not if I can help it. I don't care how proper or professional it is. Thanks, but no thanks. :)
Speaking of which, the below recipe is a "side dish," & feeds 2 people. If you're cooking for 4, then of course, just double the recipe, & so on & so forth. Please note, servings are modest; so don't expect a single serving to equate to a "large heaping pile of potatoes." This dish is not meant to feed a large velociraptor & her 10 babies. :) Hence, the use of the term, "side dish." :)
Anyhow, enough about potatoes & poundage. Onto the recipe..... Lavender-Infused Potatoes with Garlic & Fennel
Ingredients for Lavender-Infused Olive Oil: 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. dried lavender buds
Ingredients for Potato Fennel Dish:
1 Tbsp. lavender-infused olive oil (created from the above concoction)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 medium-sized red potatoes, sliced into 1/4" rounds, with skins intact
1 small fennel bulb with stalks & fronds intact
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
sea salt, to taste (approximately 1/2 tsp.)
pepper, to taste (approximately 1/8 tsp)
1/2 cup water (optional, add as needed)
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley (for garnishing) Directions:
1. To make the lavender-infused olive oil, put dried lavender buds into a small glass jar & pour olive oil on top. If necessary, add more olive oil to completely fill the jar to the top. Put lid on jar & tighten. (If you don't have a lid, tightly stretch plastic wrap over top of jar & then place rubber band around top lip of the jar.) Keep out of direct sunlight, placing jar in a dark place like an unlit cabinet. Please note: Jar must remain in this location for 1 week before using. So you might want to plan to do this step in advance. ;) LOL!
2. After 1 week, remove jar & place contents into a strainer, with a bowl underneath to catch the liquid. Press spoon against strainer to extract excess olive oil. Pour contents of bowl back into jar & seal. Place aside.
3. Boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes, then drain & set aside. Potatoes should still be slightly hard to the touch; they shouldn't be cooked all the way through at this point.
4. While potatoes are cooking, remove fronds & stalks from fennel bulb, separating the fronds & putting them in a small dish. Reserve stalks & put back into the refrigerator for future use. (Although this recipe doesn't make use of the stalks, they can be incorporated into recipes like fennel bean soup , etc.) Chop fennel bulb into crescent-like slivers & put aside.
5. Pour 1 Tbsp. of the lavender-infused olive oil into a large sauté pan. Seal the jar tightly & return to unlit area. (The remainder of the lavender-infused olive oil can be used for culinary or cosmetic purposes.)
6. Add garlic & cook on medium heat for about a minute or so. Do not brown garlic.
7. Add sliced potatoes & cook until they are just starting to brown. Then add fennel to pan & cook until tender. Stir continually & add a dollop of water if necessary, so that ingredients don't stick to bottom of pan &/or burn.
8. Add lemon juice, oregano, & marjoram. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
9. Cook until all ingredients are soft & tender. (Watch pan carefully while you cook, so that ingredients aren't accidentally overcooked or burned.)
10. Garnish with parsley & serve.
Serving Suggestions: This would be an ideal recipe for an intimate, candle-lit, Valentine's day dinner chez vous; just add the Lavender & Peppercorn Crusted Steak , a small side salad, & you've got dinner.