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Patate del Michele

This recipe has been put together by Phil Servis. Phil wanted to let everyone know of a fabulous way that himself and a good friend came up with invigorating the boring old spud! He calls it Patate del Michele – Italian named after Michele Sansone, the friend with whom this happy accident of a recipe occurred! It serves great as a side dish, and was a real hit at their many evening barbecues over the summer.

When asked to say a little bit about himself this is what Phil wrote:

I am thirty-three years old and from Surrey but my heart is firmly in the Mediterranean. Having fallen in love with Spain in my teens and experienced the wondrous flavours emanating from the region, my signature dishes always include many continental influences. Prior to my first visit to Spain, I found food a little dull – fish was always in parsley sauce, potatoes were always mashed, boiled or roasted and vegetables were just a side on the plate because you had to have them. Once discovered, however, I never once thought of food in the same way – it was something to be toyed with, coaxed, and, in some cases, turned totally on its head.

In my heart, I suppose I’m a food traveller, and I associate most with Keith Floyd in my cooking – to taste something new in a faraway land and immediately want to know how it is made. The lack of regard for exact measurements and approximations makes for some unique dishes drawing from meals enjoyed in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Florida and (oddly enough) Bulgaria.

The good friend I mention in my preamble for Patate del Michele is also a passionate food lover and budding chef, which makes for great competition and great “out-do-one-another” meals where much food is eaten, and far more wine!

Ingredients

4 Large Potatoes (skin on, washed)
4 - 5 tblsp Olive Oil
Large handful of Oregano (fresh is best, dried can be substituted just fine)
3 - 4 cloves of freshly chopped Garlic
2 Shallots (finely chopped - optional)
1 - 1.5 whole Lemons

Method

  • Wash the potatoes and prick them a number of times with a fork
  • Place on a microwaveable plate and place in the microwave on high for ten minutes, until piping hot and soft. Once done, place the potatoes on a clean baking tray and, with the aid of a sharp knife, cut them roughly into smallish pieces (don’t be too precise here – the idea is to get a mismatch of different sizes and textures – they should fall apart quite easily at this point, the whole thing looking slightly “mashed”.
  • Generously pour half of the olive oil over the potatoes and mix around with your fingers.
  • Now add the shallots, garlic and oregano and the juice from the lemons – again, mixing with your fingers and season with salt and black pepper.
  • Pour the remainder of the oil over and place in a hot oven (180°C - 200°C) for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the potatoes have lightly crisped. Much of the interestingness in this dish comes from the offset of softness of potatoes which have soaked up the flavours of the herbs and lemon and the satisfying crispness of the smaller pieces.

  • You will find that each time you make this, you will add / remove and tinker with the ingredients – all the better! For a slightly punchier dish – sprinkle over some chopped red chilli pepper at the end. This didh goes great with grilled or barbequed fish – or as a surprising alternative to the Sunday Roast potatoes.

Serves 4

Phil Servis