SUPERCHARGED CRISPY WEDGES
These slightly spicy, soft billowy potatoes encased in a crispy outer shell will supercharge any meal that calls for chips to accompany the main with salad served as a garnish.
Master this one super simple potato recipe and you will have scores of people telling you they are the best wedges they have ever eaten. Trust me I know this from personal experience. You will never order sub standard pub grub wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli ever again because you will quickly see how inferior they are to this authentic homemade version.These beauties are perfect for an after school snack for hungry teenagers or as a light bite for guests for casual get togethers. The sour cream works wonderfully as a buffer to cool down the fiery cayenne spice and keeps them going back for more. The secret is to simply boil the potatoes first.
Did you know? Potatoes are one of the main staples of Creole cooking. Let me tell you how that came to be. It all began on an overcast, hot humid day back in the early 15th century. Climbing the steps to the court of King Charles the 1st is the now sweating Spanish explorer named Gonzalo Jiminez de Quesada (1499-1579). He holds in his hands, wrapped in a silk cloth, a remarkable new food he’d recently been gifted from the Inca King Huáscar, something the Inca called ‘papas’. Touted as a magical food cultivated high in the Peruvian Andes, this little beauty was his gift to King Charles in lieu of the gold he was tasked to find but alas had not.
Upon presenting the silk bundle to Charles he was seemingly impressed but not as impressed as he would have been had Gonzalo actually found the gold of the mythical El Dorado. Gonzalo was instructed to plant the bushels of potatoes he’d brought back and they subsequently became a huge hit. The Spanish believed that they were a kind of truffle and called them ‘tartuffo’. Much to the delight of King Charles potatoes were soon a standard supply item on the Spanish ships; more over they noticed that the sailors who ate ‘papas’ (potatoes) did not suffer from scurvy. A once terrible plight endured on long journeys at sea.
Now we fast forward in our tale to a glorious dawn day in 1682. As the sun pokes its head above the horizon the French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle lay peacefully asleep in his cabin aboard “La Belle” he is suddenly awoken by the tremendous cry "Land ahoy!”. Sitting bolt upright he rushes out to lay his weary eyes on what he has been desperately searching for, a new world and more importantly for him, a new world of furs for that’s how a fur trader makes his living. Please let this not be a dream he thinks and slaps himself for good measure. Nope this is real! relieved he then yells “Man the boats”. Setting afoot on the new soil he triumphantly declares ownership in the name of King Louis the XIV naming the new territory La Louisiane. Unfortunately for France they will eventually lose this newly acquired territory when in 1762 the Treaty of Fontainebleau is secretly signed in which the Kingdom of France “La Louisiane” is ceded to Spain.
It is at this point in time the Spanish bring with them the potatoes and with them the culture of the Creoles is born. The Creoles are a remarkable people of mixed heritage that came to life in this abundant new land. This new class of people were the result of the mixing of the bloodlines of freed West African slaves and French and Spanish settlers. They were to build in the new capital of La Nouvelle-Orléans a new world society that rivals the most cultured of European states at the time. Creoles become famous for their enthusiastic entrepreneurial sprit, remarkable farming techniques, fine food and exquisite musical talents. A testament to their success the creole culture is still very much alive and well and continues to flourish till this very day.
Chef Dylan Tips: Potatoes need a fair bit of room to cook in the saucepan so don’t cram them into a small saucepan. Cook the potatoes until they are almost falling apart, this is what gives them the super soft billowy centre. Also there's no need tp peel your potatoes, leave the skin on for some extra crunch.
Why not honour this remarkable food that began life high up in the Peruvian Andes and after centuries and having traversed across the globe try it with a Creole twist. This is a very easy recipe and with a little planning you will soon be eating like an adventurer!
PREP TIME: 10 mins
COOKING TIME: 50 mins
600g white washed potatoes
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsps CREOLE (GAUCHO or SPARTAN)
1. In a small bowl mix together the oil and CREOLE until well combined.
2. Fill up the kettle and boil.
3. Wash the potatoes and cut into wedges roughly the same size.
4. Pre heat oven to 190C.
5. Place the potatoes in a medium sized saucepan, pour in the boiling water from the kettle and cook until soft about 15-20 mins until a knife goes through very easily but they don’t break apart.
6. Strain the potatoes and make sure to get rid if any water residue (you can place the stainer on top of the saucepan for a couple of mins).
7. Carefully pour the potatoes into a large bowl and gently coat the potatoes with the CREOLE and oil mixture.
8. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and the place the potatoes onto it making sure there is a little space between each wedge so they can crisp up nicely.
9. Bake for 30-40 mins.
10. Remove from oven to serve.
Serve up these irresistible wedges with a big dollop of sour cream.