Reconciling with potatoes

Pot-ay-to, po-tah-to.

As a student that has to endure catered hall food, potatoes, also known as “tatties”, are the last ingredient I would turn to when making a weekend dinner. However, this Sunday, when contemplating what to cook for my friends, I decided to make an approachable potato dish. Stodgy and full of carbs, potatoes are still an amazing side, if done properly. Mash, for example, is only acceptable when it’s a ratio of 1:1, fat:potato. Potatoes are one of the few foods that can either be a pure luxury or a cheap filler. Halls of residence have a firm favourite of serving a double dose of carbs on carbs. They can also feature as the staple conclusion to a night out with ‘the cheesy chip fix’. My aim was to make a dish which would convince my friend to reconcile with the potato. After some research, I came across a recipe for bacon crisped potatoes. The dream —bacon and potatoes, what more do you need in life? Admittedly it was lacking in cheese, cream, butter and every other wonderful dairy product but I gave it a go.

The great thing about this recipe is the flavour balance between the salty bacon, sweet fresh corn and rich egg, which is all carried by the potato.

250g smoked bacon

500g potatoes (Maris Piper are suited to roasting and frying)

2 Cloves of garlic

4 ears of corn

1 bunch of spring onions

4 eggs

Rosemary (dried or fresh), salt, pepper and olive oil

Chop the bacon into small pieces and place into a cold frying pan. Once it starts sizzling on a medium heat, begin to stir. Leave until it become crispy so that it can almost crumble. This should take around 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan but leave the fat (higher quality bacon is better as it contains less water. Buying from Minick’s butcher is a good idea, and they tend to be good value). Rest the bacon on some kitchen paper.

Wash and chop the potatoes into small cubes. You want to leave the skin on because a lot of the flavour comes from it. To the bacon fat, add a little additional olive oil and make sure that it is sizzling. Add the cubes of potato and form a single layer, leaving them for a couple of minutes. Leave them untouched to develop a crispy surface, instead of breaking down which happens if you stir from the beginning. Move them around the pan so that each side becomes a golden brown. Cooking the potatoes all the way through should take around 20 minutes. In the last couple of minutes, when they are pretty much all crispy, add finely chopped garlic, rosemary, pepper and salt to taste (remember the bacon will add saltiness).

Cut the sweetcorn off the side of the ears and add this to the crispy potatoes. Add this to the potatoes and fry for around 5 minutes. They are ready when it turns from pale to bright yellow. Next add the bacon and finely chopped spring onions. Remove from the heat and stir so that it heats through. Season to taste.

At this stage fry or poach (2 minutes in simmering water) the eggs. Serve with the egg runny and some chopped spring onions on top, and most of all, enjoy!