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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Random Food Fridays - Fried Potatoes and Brats

In recent weeks, I've rediscovered my infatuation with potatoes. When one has been counting calories and increasing bean consumption, potatoes can, as an unfortunate side effect, be left behind. Well, no more! Potatoes are full of vitamins and fiber and are a whole food that is alive. When I first started cleaning up my diet, I looked at it, not only scientifically, but energetically and thought, "I will eat mostly foods that have been alive recently." This leaves out a lot of processed foods and food-like products. I think this is why Michael Pollan's advice to "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." resonated with me. This approach seems to be a good basis for running a human body without getting too fussy or worried.

That being said, let's talk about meat. We recently discovered a Sacramento landmark, Morant's Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen. I won't bore you (and embarrass myself) by listing everything we bought during our first frenzied visit. I will let you know that I had never had bratwurst before. We got two kinds, uncooked Sheboygan brats and precooked white brats. The Sheboygan brats were a revelation. The texture was like nothing I've had before and they were green with herbs. Can a sausage be refreshing? I pan fried the Sheboygan brats until crisp and served them with oven fries and sweet and sour greens. The precooked brats were used in the dish you see above.

We're talking about pretty humble foods here. The kind I like best. What takes potatoes from filler to transcendence is treatment. Even the simplest dish, with a little care, can become something memorable. For this dish, the extra step that makes all the difference is to cook the potatoes separately from the sausage and onions, then toss them together at the last. This way the onions don't get burned and the potatoes are allowed to become nice and crispy at a higher temperature and without the additional moisture the onions and sausages would exude.

Fried Potatoes and Brats

6 medium red skinned potatoes

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 lb. cooked brats, sliced diagonally

Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and poke whole potatoes and precook. (On a weeknight, I do this in the microwave. You can also used leftover baked potatoes.)

Heat two skillets over medium heat. To one, add two tablespoons olive oil, shallots and brats. Reduce heat to medium low and let the shallots melt down and brown a little.

Meanwhile, in the other skillet (a large skillet is better) heat the remaining oil. Half the cooked potatoes lengthwise then slice ¼ inch across. Add potatoes to the hot oil. Try to make one layer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn carefully to brown both sides. Browning both sides will take about 15 minutes. Add the onions and the brats and toss to combine.

Makes 4 servings

382 calories per serving

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