Sunday, November 19, 2006

April's rosemary straw potatoes with lemon salt

In my picky days, I mostly hated burgers. I did eat them, as a teenager, occasionally when I went into Newcastle on Saturdays to shop with my friends. We didn't have much money and lunch was either a big Mac or a sandwich in Oliver's, where you chose your fillings and they made the sandwich up for you as you watched; Oliver's was a hundred times nicer than McDonalds, so we tended to go there, but McDo was much quicker. Anyway I was never keen on burgers - I didn't much like the ubiquitous gherkin, and I wasn't a fan of beef (even the nice kinds, and certainly not the spooky cuts that make it into commercial burgers). I started to eat burgers with enthusiasm in 2004, trying out a variety of home-made burgers with different flavourings - an Asian vibe with coriander and chilli sauce; a cheeseburger with Roquefort; lamb burgers in pitta with hummus and tzatziki... burgers that were a world away from the cardboard commercial version. Yesterday I had a burger craving, and decided to try out Tessa Kiros's hamburger with pink sauce from Apples for Jam, along with Jamie's recipe for rosemary straw potatoes with lemon salt. Jamie's recipe comes from April at the Spotted Pig gastropub in New York, which I googled and found has one of those menus that make you salivate. April serves her rosemary straw potatoes (which she calls shoestring fries) with a blue cheese hamburger, so I felt I was in the right vein in teaming them with Tessa's hamburger with gorgonzola.

For the burger, I mixed good beef mince with chopped parsley and seasonings and moulded into burgers to grill. The burger itself is pretty basic, but Tessa's accompaniments are to die for: red onions fried with thyme and a little salt until sticky and a wonderful pink sauce made with ketchup, mayo, paprika and lemon juice which is exceptionally delicious, as well as tomato slices and gherkins.

Simon made the straw potatoes because he is the designated potato-preparer in this house and because I was watching the X factor. This seemed to involve slicing peeled potatoes into fine matchsticks and patting them dry, before deep frying them; unlike chips, they only need one deep-frying phase because they are so thin. Rosemary sprigs are added in the last 30 seconds or so. Simon also made the accompanying lemon salt by bashing lemon zest and sea salt together.

I can hardly begin to describe how good these fries are. Really crunchy, a sort of cross between chips and crisps, but nicer than either, and the lemon salt is delicious too. These was a massive hit. As you can see in the pic some of the matchsticks are thicker than others and they didn't go as crunchy, but they were still really nice; the thinnest ones were the best chips I've ever eaten, though, and I am not even much of a chip fan! The whole dinner was absolutely perfect, and it is rare that I would say that about burger and chips.

I think the picture sums it up- Saturday night food heaven.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kathryn,
Thanks for your lovely comments! It is always nice to share reminiscences about food - everyone has different ones and yours makes it even more wonderful that you've decided to embark on cooking through Jamie Oliver's book. The burger and chips look soooo yummy! My hubby is making me egg and chips for supper tonight so I'm leaving the healthy part out tonight (the burger!).

Maria said...

aaah! My idea of the perfect weekend dinner! Those straw potatoes look gorgeous too, will have to try them now that I have finally received my copy of the book ;-)

Anonymous said...

YUM I need to make this soon so I could join the AFJ cookalong! Rafa would love this. I am quite intrigued by this pink sauce. :))