Andrew just celebrated his sixth birthday last week, and like many little boys, he’s obsessed with Star Wars. We’re currently at the height of the Lego craze and for Andrew’s birthday all he wanted was go to the Lego store inside Downtown Disney, you know, the free part of Disney where everything is double the price, which makes it not-so-free I guess. But no boy as young as Andrew should be allowed to own a Star Wars Republic Attack Gun Ship with 1,034 itty bitty Lego pieces, especially a boy whose mother is neurotic, a father who’s intensely by-the-book-must-follow-instructions and who’s younger brother who loves to tinker, smash, crash and explode things.
Can you even imagine the four-letter and fifty-eight letter curse words that pierces the air every time I step on a stray, plastic, sharp-edged Lego? Or little brother Nathan’s curiosity that compels him to find out what happens he breaks these 392 pieces off and put them on the other side? Well let me tell you what happens. It no longer functions as a $129.00 Star Wars Republic Attack Gun Ship. Birthday boy cries, Dad’s frustrated because he can’t find missing pieces and I storm into the garage to take the shop-vac out to suck up every single crack of dignity Lego Luke Skywalker ever had.
And then for the first time in the Steamy Kitchen, I grabbed a cookbook and followed a recipe exactly. No substitutions, no tinkering, no eyeballing measurements. And it turned out wonderful.
Well, first ya gotta cut your potatoes into a rectangular cube shape. Be prepared to have LOTS of potato scraps. But please don’t be a douche and just throw away the scraps – just plan to have skillet potatoes tomorrow morning and use the scraps in the recipe. See how nice and cubular this is?
I was sent a Aroma Electric Mandoline Slicer from Aroma to check out, which worked perfectly to slices those potatoes into super-thin slices. That’s Nathan right there, he was fascinated by the see-saw back and forth motion of the mandoline. That’s Nathan in the pic. He’s a mischevious one. Gotta keep an eye on him. That look? You know he’s thinking about what he can stick in that machine to slice.
What do I think about this Aroma Electric Mandoline Slicer?
- YAY: Smaller, lighter than a food processor. Easy to use, easy to clean. Saves your fingers and knuckles from sharp blade standard mandoline. If you’re a kitchen klutz, this is important. Small, nimble.
- NAY: Loud, pretty pricey. If you’re spending over $60, you might as well get a food processor with different blades if you have the room in your kitchen. I’ve just been advised that this Aroma Electric Mandoline Slicer is only $39.00 at Target.
So obviously the lighting in my kitchen sucks (some days I feel like grabbing a ladder and cutting a sunroof) I brought these perfectly sliced potato cards closer to the light.
The potatoes are pretty starchy, so you kinda want to separate them a bit and stack them like a deck of cards – messily, like so:
You’ll use the scrap potato ends to prop the domino (or cards) up so that they don’t fall over while you’re assembling the stack
The longer it takes you to do this domino stacking business, the more discoloration you’ll get on the potatoes. But don’t worry, it’s still all good – I promise that the discoloration will disappear once it’s baked.
Don’t stack too many potatoes – give it some breathing room – otherwise it will be difficult to cook evenly. Just a nice, loose stack of potatoes.
Ready for the sexy food shot??? Now feast your eyes on that!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Recipe from Seven Fires Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallmann. If you feel like tinkering with the recipe, just don't leave stray pieces laying around the floor. I will step on them and it will hurt. Anyways, for something a little different, I would add a little sprinkle of a seasoning, like cinnamon or nutmeg. Also, if you don't want to go through the trouble of clarifying butter, just use regular butter.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat, use a nonstick baking sheet or a medium-sized baking dish.
Cut off the two ends of one potato and reserve them. Trim the 4 sides of the potato to form an even brick. Slice of potato about 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline, keeping the slices in order if you can (just like a line of shingled dominoes). Hold the stack of potato slices in the palm of one hand and use the other to shape them back into a brick, as you would a deck of cards. Lay the stack on its side on the baking sheet and put the reserved potato ends, cut side down at either end keep the stack aligned. Then, with the palm of your hand, angle slices slightly to resemble a line of dominoes that has tilted over. Adjust the end pieces to keep the stack and shape, and align the slices if necessary.
Dot the top and sides with pieces of the clarified butter. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, keeping the stacks at least 2 inches apart.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned on the edges and tender in the middle when tested with a skewer. Serve immediately.
To Make the Clarified Butter
1/2 pound unsalted butter
Slowly melt the butter in a heavy small saucepan over medium low heat. Do not stir. Remove from the heat, and carefully spoon off all of the foam from the top. Pour the clear liquid butter through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, leaving behind the solids in the pan. Once cool, the clarified butter can be refrigerated for weeks.