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Monday 14 February 2011

Recipe: Scallops and Oyster Mushroom in Cava w/ Crunchy Potatoes - Celebrating the Potato

This isn't a roastie it's a fondant (melts in the mouth) potato : )

WIth all these fad diets sweeping the nation many of which remove the lovely carb element from the menu it would seem that everyone  has turned their back on the humble potato!!! In retaliation Jean Christophe Novelli has set up a competition to celebrate the potato. So I spent a little time today looking into this and blimey it's a versatile beasty indeed!

The potato is a fantastic vehicle for flavour and a great conveyor of slow release energy, and it's prepared in soooo many ways I couldn't cover them all in detail here, but I'm going to try at least skim over them.

There are a few things that have a bearing on the outcome of a culinary potato adventure. These might seem obvious but how the potato is cut has a huge effect: it alters the crunchiness, how quickly it cooks and has an impact on texture. Of course, another element that's very important to take in to account is the type of potato, and whether it has a waxy or floury flesh. This also affects the texture and in turn what the potato should be used for. Incidentally, there's a great list of potato qualities here (loads of potato varieties!), but in general use floury types for baked, mash and roasties, and waxier varieties for boiled, fried, and salads.

Quick comment on roasties….
What would life be without these nuggets of beauty? I can't remember the number of Sundays that I've sat down with family or friends for a fab roast dinner and a couple of pints or a glass of wine. What a brilliant combo. The problem is you get a rubbish roastie - waiting for hours in a baking tray hoping it might retain it's glory - as often as you get a good one! Sad times!

There's no excuse. Make sure your potato is cooked (boiled), then roughly mix with fat, (I use olive oil but goose fat is popular) salt and  pepper. Put them into a hot oiled baking tray so they sizzle when they hit the tray. Put 'em in at 180C and turn only when the bottoms are crunchy!! Wait till the new bottom is crunchy! Job done.

Scallops and Oyster Mushroom in Cava w/ Crunchy Potatoes
6 scallops
200g mixed mushrooms including oyster (chopped)
150ml cava
25g butter
6 cloves of garlic
6 olives (quartered)
5 medium potatoes floury (peeled and chopped)
little oregano or thyme
15g parsley.

Cook the garlic on a low heat in olive oil until completely soft.
Boil potatoes and then cut them up, or vice versa!
. . . and smash them . . .
. . . then sit them in a heavy based pan on a medium heat and leave to brown . . .
In another pan add the butter, heat until brown then add the mushrooms sweat them off.
Once they've lost most of their water add the cava.
Make sure you turn the potatoes so they brown on both sides.
At this point the scallops can be added to the potatoes.
And if you're feeling a bit naughty add a little cream! Tut tut!!

Once the scallops are done, add the mushrooms, olives and herbs. Mix and serve.
I was feeling virtuous so I added leaks cooked in chicken stock.

You can also celebrate the potato with these inexpensive and very tasty recipes:
-   Arroz al Horno (Baked Rice)


  1. Tasty and worryingly easy to put together by the sound of things.

    And you are right about the roasties. How do so many places get them so wrong - all fatty crisp and no potato, or cooking the outside to the consistency of canvas. I go with your boil then roast method, sometimes adding a sprinkling of sea salt flakes or a wee bit of smoky paprika.

    The other thing that works well (particularly if you are doing a big meal) is to do the boiling and half the roasting the day before, then freeze the spuds (evenly spaced on a baking sheet) and finish the roasting the next day. makes the flesh even softer. Yum.


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