Fave dish of the year & the crispiest potatoes
plus a week of PPJ dinners and drinking random wine
I am very bored of talking about being busy. I mean, aren’t we all? And yet, it feels important to say I am slammed and that is why this newsletter has been…a little less than regular the last couple weeks (lol). It’s the holiday season at PPJ (and just like…generally) which means *so many* corporate events. 3 in the last week! So while I’m busy hustling my butt off and slinging all the pasta, I want to leave you with some recipes and restaurants to peruse. Oh, and I’ll be in touch this week or early next about November’s potato cooking class! I’m thinking we’re gonna focus on a gnocchi dish because gnocchi are the *perfect* way to use up leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes - you’ll thank me later.
If you love (okay, even *like*) my newsletter please consider sharing it on social media or with friends/fam! It means so much to me!
And (shameless plug) please subscribe to FLD if you somehow haven’t yet! Free subs are available but paid subscribers ($6/month, $49/year) get a monthly hour-long cooking class with me + an exclusive podcast-style interview with someone I admire.
WHERE IM EATING
Village Cafe: 1968 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11223
Look, I know I went to (and posted about) Village Cafe a couple weeks ago but it deserves its own moment in the spotlight. This Azerbaijani spot is one of the top 5 restaurants I visited this year and the guru hingal (thin, wide sheets of noodles topped with minced lamb tail and an herby garlic yogurt sauce) might just be my favorite dish of the year. I highly recommend a visit. Don’t forget to try the dyushbara (small lamb dumplings floating in a savory clear broth) and if I were you I’d order some shish-kebabs for good measure.
WHAT IM COOKING
Smashed potatoes have been having a moment for obvious reasons: they combine all of the potato’s best qualities into one creamy, luscious, yet still crunchy dish. My version is topped with a garlic/anchovy/caper sauce which is very drinkable. I actually recommend making extra and using it as a veg/protein topper throughout the week.
Crispy smashed potatoes with anchovy caper sauce
WHAT YOU NEED
2lbs fingerling, peewee or other small potato varietal
1/2 tsp paprika
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup capers, chopped
Chili flake (optional)
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
WHAT YOU DO
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender - about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make anchovy caper sauce: add olive oil to a skillet over medium-low heat along with minced garlic. Once the garlic becomes fragrant add anchovies, caper, and chili flake to taste (if using). Cook for a few minutes or until the anchovies dissolve then set aside. (Quick note: check for seasoning! The anchovies and capers should be plenty salty but adjust if necessary).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the boiled potatoes with a healthy drizzle of olive oil, paprika and salt.
Coat the bottom of a sheet pan with olive oil. Use a mug or other heavy flat-bottomed object to smash each boiled potato onto the sheet pan. It’s helpful to have a spatula on hand incase the potato gets stuck to your objects of choice (a ceramic dish that used to hold cheese, in my case). Be careful not to crowd the potatoes.
Bake the smashed potatoes for 30-45 minutes, flipping at the 20 minute mark. The potatoes should be golden brown and crispy on the outside but not overcooked.
Add the cooked potatoes to a serving dish and drizzle with parsley (which can be added to the anchovy caper sauce ahead of time, TBH) as well as the anchovy, caper and garlic sauce.
WHAT I’M DRINKING
I’m drinking leftover wine from PPJ dinners. It’s been that kind of week.
Normally I’m a huge pain in the ass about procuring the exact type of wine that I want to drink but even I have to admit there’s a certain beauty in just not caring — in drinking a super cold glass of whatever is available after an exhausting but amazing shift. One less decision to make and I’m here for it.
Shameless plug: please subscribe to FLD if you somehow haven’t yet! Free subs are available but paid subscribers ($6/month, $49/year) get a monthly hour-long cooking class with me + an exclusive podcast-style interview with someone I admire.