Thus ran an idle conversation between husband and wife recently.
Predictably he said rice, fair enough, although he qualified that by saying that he meant a real Turkish pilav and not just plain old English rice! I being my father’s daughter, plump for potatoes every time. I had also just stumbled upon a lovely blog called Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen with an easy recipe for potatoes in the oven that took my fancy and reminded me how good potatoes can be. In Assos of necessity I cook very simply and the quality of the potatoes is excellent. I was inspired to make potatoes in the oven just drizzled with olive oil and cooked with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary from the garden with a little salt and pepper.
It was so tasty that we had it two nights in a row! But you do need good potatoes.
Another night I made Welsh Onion Cake from a magazine I had with me: basically onions and potatoes cooked in an ovenproof dish. I used to do all sorts of similar potato dishes where basically the ingredients were varying amounts of either butter, cheese, or milk. Potatoes Anna for example was a firm favourite and is the same as this recipe minus the onions.
Ingredients for Welsh Onion Cake
Adapted from BBC Good Food magazine
100g/4oz unsalted butter, melted and warm
500g/1lb 2oz white onions, sliced
1 rosemary sprig
1kg/2lb 4oz Desirée or Maris Piper potatoes
· Heat about a quarter of the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Sweat the onions with a little salt and the rosemary sprig. Slowly cook on a gentle heat with a lid on for about 20 mins. Remove rosemary and set aside.
· Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Peel the potatoes and immediately cut into wafer-thin slices directly into a bowl containing the rest of the warm butter. Season with salt and pepper. The thinner the potatoes, the better the dish will be. Do not wash them once they are sliced, as you want all of the starch to stick the potatoes together.
· Layer the potatoes neatly in an ovenproof dish in a circle, slightly overlapping. Continue to pile in half of the potatoes, then add the melted onions. On top of the onions, continue with the potatoes until all used up.
· Place in the oven and cook for 45-50 mins until the potatoes are soft and starting to brown.
· Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 mins before slicing into wedges.
· Excellent with the Sunday roast if that's something that you do, or indeed any meat or fish.
This time the potatoes are boiled then sliced and arranged in the ovenproof dish and there is no onion. Sprinkle with a little salt and instead of butter, drizzle with olive oil. Scatter grated kaşar peyniri/cheddar cheese over the top and cook for 10 mins at 180C/350F.
- Here in Turkey we don't have the different types of potato that exist elsewhere. Or rather if we do, we don't know the names. The Assos potatoes are fantastic and the ones available in Istanbul are also very tasty. Just get nice firm ones and I am sure they will be just fine.
- In my experience, one should set aside a certain amount of time for ovenbaked potato dishes as their success relies on their being thoroughly cooked and also browned. So in reality, don't rush when making dishes like these. They can easily continue cooking for longer.
Afiyet olsun for both!