You Say Tomato, I Say Potahto
When I think about things that go well with potatoes, the first thing that pops into my mind is tomatoes. There’s a great possibility that this is a vestige of some ingrained-in-my-childhood-brain Fox in Socks trickery, but there’s an equally great chance that this is simply because potatoes and tomatoes taste like magic together.
Let me be truthful – I haven’t cooked in a long time. For the last few days, I’ve been eating toasted slices of bread topped with a plethora of interesting things: garlic-ginger butter with aged gouda and arugula, mini peppers stuffed with goat cheese and marinated in oil, mettwurst with raw onion and cracked pepper, pink roe paste with piquant goat’s milk cheese, or absolutely, absolutely sinful Biscoff cookie spread. And while all of these things are delicious, there is only so much toast you can eat before you never want to see a slice of bread again.
(As an aside, I really hate the word “plethora,” and I’m not really sure why I felt the need to use it here. I suppose that sometimes, words just want to be, whether we like them or not, just as sometimes, it’s not at all bad to be kind to people we don’t like.)
Part of the problem is that I haven’t really had time to cook – and the other part is that I haven’t really been home. I’ve been out having fun. Going to music festivals, entertaining visiting friends, sitting in cafés. Oh yes, I know, my life is hard.
But really, I’ve missed cooking. The quietness of it. The focus of it. The to-do-list-fading-away-ness of it.
So today, for lunch, I whipped myself up a little something something. Nothing fancy – just some simple roast potatoes married to a bacon and sweet Hungarian pepper tomato sauce. As I sat down to eat, I picked up the old issue of Harper’s my dad had just brought over from the states for me and began to read an article on the benefits of fasting.
Roast Potatoes with Sweet Hungarian Pepper Sauce
Preheat the oven to 460°F (though my oven is quite weak – you might want to adjust the heat accordingly). Peel and slice about 5 medium-sized potatoes into wedges. Spread them across a baking sheet along with 1 yellow onion sliced into rings or half-rings and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, paprika, and an Italian herbs blend (alternatively, you could just use oregano and parsley). Stick it in the oven and roast those beautiful potato wedges for about half an hour, giving them a little nudge around the baking sheet once halfway through.
Right after you do your nudging, start the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add 1 finely chopped onion and 2 tbsp chopped bacon. Sautee until the onion is translucent. Add 2 chopped sweet Hungarian peppers (if you can’t find these, yellow peppers are probably the closest approximation) and cook until softened. Add ½ cup (or more if it still looks too thin) tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Add a pinch of red chili flakes and cumin, since tomatoes love cumin. It’s like date night every night. Put a lid on your pan and let the flavors come together. You want to give the sauce at least 10 minutes of melding.
When your potatoes are done, transfer them to a plate. Top with the sauce and garnish with shaved parmesan and basil.