Oh potatoes. I can’t say I generally choose potatoes first. But sometimes, just sometimes, there’s a potato dish that really and truly hits the spot. It’s potato season and I saw some beautiful fingerlings at the farmers’ markets over the last few weeks. Lindsey, my co-host for the supper club, and I decided a good room-temperature potato dish would round out the meal nicely. But what to make?
When I was in high school my mother went to Italy. While there, she took a cooking class with cookbook author and instructor, Giuliano Bugialli. Apparently, during a class, he made a “snack” for the students of vinegary potatoes and my mother recreated it for us when she got home. I have since recreated it in a million ways oh so many times.
This version varies greatly from the original but the biggest take-away, and the thing that has everyone saying “huh?” is that I slice the potatoes and then boil them in very diluted red wine vinegar. Here’s the version I made at supper-club for folks and I’d say it went over well. This is a very “slap-dash” recipe, so measurements are not exact.
Giuliano’s Potatoes with a Twist
8 cups potatoes (approximately 2-3 pounds)*
1-2 cup red wine vinegar
3-4 bay leaves
6 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
1/8 cup capers
1-2 Tablespoons anchovies or paste
3/4 cup parsley, chopped roughly
1/4 cup basil (optional), chopped roughly
pinch of chili flakes
Bring a large pot of vinegar, bay leaves, salt and water to boil. Use 1 cup red wine vinegar to 4-5 cups of water. With a mandolin or in a food processor (or by hand if you’re very patient), slice the potatoes thinly. Add to the boiling water as soon as sliced. Boil JUST until the potatoes are barely cooked. They will be a tiny bit crisp still, but not undercooked. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet. Add half of the garlic, anchovies, and capers and saute until tender and fragrant. Add the potatoes, chili flakes, the remaining garlic and saute for about 3-5 minutes, until ingredients are all incorporated. Add the herbs and toss. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
*Because potatoes are in season and I chose fingerlings, the skin was very tender. I did not bother peeling them in this version. The vinegar in the water also keeps the peel from separating when boiled.