Monday 17 June 2013

Pots en Pap

This is one of my oldest recipies. I took it from the Greens' Cookery book at least twenty years ago but it still seems to surprise people.

You know how irritating it is when the host says, of something that clearly required weeks of work, 'oh, it's really simple'? Well, these are. Even if you can't boil an egg - you can make these. Not that I'm encouraging you to cook if you can't manage an egg. Certainly, you shouldn't be handling knives. And if you can't boil an egg, what on earth will you eat with these potatoes? It'll be a terrible waste. You do need to know how to fold paper though.

I don't have a picture of the potatoes but they are simple to prepare. These are great for large (tardy) parties because 5 mins of extra cooking only improves the flavour. I tend to remove the pots after 30 mins and then do the final 15 mins when everyone's assembled and behaving themselves. Again, this will serve six people.

So... oven to 220°C. Take a half kilo of small potatoes - Jersey Royals would be dandyplace them on a length of baking paper/parchment; at least two feet. Oil the spuds well, and season with salt and pepper. Add one garlic glove per person and your herbs of choice. Woody ones seem to work best but then, so does tarragon. Make a bag of the paper, overlapping the edges and twisting the final corner. The bag needs to be sealed.

Cook the pots on a baking tray for 40 mins at 220°C. If you're cooking something else, like meat, that's fine just cook for ten minutes more. This is a forgiving dish. In any case itthe timing will be slightly more or less depending of the size of your veg and your taste. You can test the pots through the bag. When you press one, it should just squish.

Open the bags at the table. This is great foodie theatre. It smells wonderful too. They will be crispy in part and chewy as they are part steamed, part roasted.

You might want to squeeze the cooled garlic cloves onto bread too. It's quite mild as it's been baked whole and not finely chopped.

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