I have to watch out when I get ill! The unexpected is prone to happen. On this occasion it was flu that laid me out. The Chief Taster was forced into a shopping expedition, and as he moseyed around the local Migros he saw sacks of small waxy potatoes. A vague memory stirred.
The Chief Taster has been travelling backwards and forwards from Germany for decades, and enjoying Bratkartoffeln. And more recently (months not decades) we’d been in an Italian pizzeria in Nordheim, and enjoyed them, implausibly paired with beef carpaccio.
Now I was on my feet again, back for a mountain stroll, and the CT was musing. “I think we should have Bratkartoffeln with the chicken and tarragon tonight,” he concluded. And half an hour later, as we were on our way back down, he disappeared into a grocers and emerged with a bag of raclette potatoes, “I volunteer our daughter to cook them” he said firmly, handing them over to me, “I have to go out.”
Luckily our daughter helpfully fell in with the idea, and these German potatoes were a great success. And not just on that evening, but on a couple of occasions later on in the week too. Ideally, in any case, they are made the day before, which is a disadvantage (requires planning and forethought), and at the very least you need to allow time for them to cool before frying; on the other hand they keep for almost a week – a great advantage. But the cooling process is essential – one of the secrets.
Leftovers are fantastic with all sorts of things – fried eggs for starters.
Here is what to do.
Recipe for Bratkartoffeln
• 200g/7 oz lardons – or of course, more authentically, you can use bacon
• 1 kg/2 lbs 3 oz small waxy potatoes
• Couple of stock cubes
• 1 onion
• Smoked salt, freshly ground black pepper
• Possibly some butter
1. Boil a full kettle. Cut any super-sized potatoes in two. Wash the potatoes if necessary. Put into a large saucepan, and cover with boiling water…top up with more water if necessary. Add the stock cubes. Boil for about 20 minutes until they are just cooked through. Drain. Allow to cool. Ideally cover and leave them in the fridge until the following day. Otherwise, just wait until they have cooled.
2. Slice the potatoes (wipe off any loose peel – a prep-a-lot is particularly helpful for this).
3. Fry the lardons in a big frying pan. As the fat seeps out of them, add the potatoes.
4. Meanwhile peel and chop the onion. Add to the potato and lardons. If the whole starts to look a bit dry, add butter. Season generously (although be careful with the salt, as there is already a lot in the lardons).
5. Once the potato has turned golden, it is ready to serve.