Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sarladaise are here again

The first new-season potatoes are out, but its raining incessantly and there is enough of a chill in the air still to justify a generous plate of potatoes with a crispy duck confit.Sarladaise is the name given to a method of preparing potatoes in the Périgord region of France.If you go anywhere in the Dordogne area of southern France you can be sure that you will be served this fabulous potato dish as an accompaniment to meat dishes and salads. Hearty, wholesome and absolutely scrumptious. Sarlat potatoes or pomme de terres Sarladaises is easy for you to make at home and recreate a fabulous authentic French taste in about 30 minutes. The thinly sliced potatoes are sautéed(without par-boiling) in duck fat.When they are cooked they are sprinkled with chopped parsley and garlic,covered and left to sweat.In restaurants,truffles are often added,but this is incorrect,;truffles are however an ingredient of sarladaise sauce,a cold emulsified sauce flavoured with brandy, served with grilled or roasted meat.Potatoes Sarladaises are an absolute treat, with the nutty, velvety richness of duck fat, and the beautiful contrast between the tender middle of the potatoes and the browned crunchy bits.I could eat potatoes sarladaises any day of the year, but early spring is an excellent time of year to make them.
Confit of Duck
Order duck legs from your butcher each weighing at least 300g.Ask him to remove the thigh bone from the legs at the joint,leaving the flesh intact, and also to chop the end knuckle off each duck leg to expose the bone. Duck fat can be bought from a good butcher or delicatessen.Once the legs have been cooked in the fat,they can be left for up to a week until required and the fat frozen and used again.You need to begin this by rubbing the salt into the duck legs and placing them in the plastic container so they fit comfortably in one layer. Then sprinkle them with any remaining salt, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 24 hours.

For the salting:
8 large duck legs
6 oz (175 g) Flor de sal
For the cooking and preserving:
3 x 340 g tins duck fat
8 cloves garlic, bruised (no need to peel)
20 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
¾ oz (20 g) fresh thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves, each cut into 2 pieces
To make the confit, preheat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F, 140°C. Put the goose fat into the casserole and heat gently.
While it’s heating, wash the duck legs thoroughly under running water - it is important to do this very well to prevent the final result being too salty. Then place them in a bowl of cold water, drain and do the same thing again (to make absolutely sure!). After that, put the wet duck legs into the goose fat, along with the bruised garlic, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Bring it up to simmering point, cover and transfer to the preheated oven for 2½ hours. To check the meat is tender, use a small skewer, which should find little resistance when pushed into the duck legs. 
Now cool for about an hour, then remove the legs from the fat and put them back into the (washed and dried) plastic container. Strain the cooled fat over the legs then, when completely cold, cover and store in the fridge ready for when you want to use it, removing it from the fridge about 1 hour before reheating it in the oven.
Salardaise potatoes
Serves 4.
Worth the time. Some things just are—and this is one of them....  only three ingredients: potatoes, garlic, and fat.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) waxy potatoes (i.e. they hold their shape when cooked)
3 tablespoons (35 grams)  duck fat
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and slice them into 5-mm (1/5-inch) slices. Rinse in a colander to remove excess starch, drain, and dry thoroughly in a clean dish towel.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet , heat the duck fat over medium heat.
Add the potatoes and salt, stir well to coat, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes without disturbing, until browned underneath. Adjust the heat as needed so it is high enough to brown the potatoes, but not so high that the potatoes will burn at the bottom.
Flip the potatoes , and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes without disturbing, until browned underneath. Repeat the flipping and browning 2 to 3 times more, until the potatoes are cooked through and browned to your taste.
Add the garlic and parsley, sprinkle with black pepper and turn off the heat, leave the pan covered for a further 5 minutes and then serve.
Smells delicious, tastes divine!
Bon appétit…

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