Recipe & photo by Romanian Food for Foreigners
5 or 6 smallish potatoes (larger potatoes can be used but would need to be boiled longer)
One onion, roughly chopped
Two or three cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped (optional)
A scant cup of diced fatty bacon, smokey works well (optional)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Chopped parsley (or any fresh herb you have handy)
Cooking oil (can be olive oil or even butter – again, whatever you have to hand)
1. Wash any mud off the potatoes and put them into enough cold water to cover them plus an inch. Bring to the boil and allow them to boil until a fork can pierce them easily. Be careful not to over-boil them, you want them to hold their shape when you fry them later.
2. Once sufficiently part-boiled, probably 20-30 minutes depending on their size, drain them and fill the pan with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool them quicker.
3. Peel off the skin with your fingers (it comes off easily, no need to use a peeler) and cut them into rounds, each about 10mm thick. (Note: alternatively you can peel them first, cut them into rounds, or wedges, and then boil them.)
4. Put another pan on medium heat and add the bacon pieces (if using) and fry them till some of the fat is extracted, then add a few more splashes of oil, butter, or lard. If you aren’t using bacon, just add oil and heat.
5. Once the bacon has taken on a brown color (or the oil has warmed up, if not using bacon) add the chopped onion and allow to soften for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Then throw in the garlic (if using) and continue to fry for another minute or two. It should be smelling lovely by now!
6. Arrange the sliced potatoes in the pan and allow to fry for about 10-15 minutes. Flip them from time to time, move the top ones to the bottom, but don’t stir them too vigorously or too frequently or you won’t give them time to develop a crispy brown coat, and too much stirring will mean you end up with an oily mash.
7. When they are nicely brown, serve them in a bowl or alongside the main, season with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of parsley (or another fresh herb). A dash of paprika is also a popular addition.
Gorgeous, hearty, warming. They’ll go with more or less anything or will happy stand alone as a center-of-the-table nibble. Easily as good as a nicely roasted potato (and those are hard to beat).