If I could have a substance other than blood running through my veins, I would wish for olive oil. The smell, the green fruit essence in liquid gold. Gaea recently sent me a little love package of oil estate grown in Crete, Sitia Olive Oil, and I drizzled it like a giddy drunk all over this potato focaccia (or shall we just call it what it is—a pizza with potato chips and thyme on top).
In my opinion, bread dipped in olive oil remains near a sacrament. And this oil is some of the best I’ve ever had.
Tartine Potato Focaccia
Adapted from the Tartine Bread Book
Make the Tartine Country Bread dough
2-3 pounds waxy potatoes
1 ½ tsp salt
½ cup olive oil
1 bunch of fresh thyme
3 ounces pecorino cheese
Shape the dough as directed in the tartine country bread recipe. Section in half, and then one at a time, allow each half to rest on a work surface for 30 minutes. Then cut the potatoes into thin, translucent slices. Place in a colander and toss with salt. Let stand for 20 or so minutes, and the potatoes will leech out copious amounts of water. Sponge it up, let it drip through the colander, and then toss the potato slices with pepper, olive oil, and thyme.
Preheat the oven to 500. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Transfer the dough to the pan and stretch into a rectangular shape—do not rip the dough. If it resists stretching, just wait. It will relax in a few minutes, and then you can try again.
Distribute the potatoes over the surface of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan so it can bake evenly. Continue until the potatoes are golden brown, 20-25 minutes total. Remove from the oven and top with shaved cheese. Cut and serve warm. Yum.
On the subject of good oils, I’ve made another dish with palm oil that I find fabulous. I love curry anything, but this curry made with backyard okra, tofu and red palm oil hits a nice savory chord.
Okra Tofu Curry Rice
Adapted from Palm Done Right campaign
4 cups cauliflower florets
3 TB organic red palm oil
1 TB palm oil (stir fry liquid type)
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, cut into long pieces
8 okra, chopped
1 lb tofu, chopped into one inch cubes
1 ½ TB curry paste, I used green
1 tsp Penzeys curry spice
1 TB minced ginger
1 ½ cups brown rice, cooked
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp coconut oil
Red pepper flakes
Cauliflower should be steamed in advance. I used frozen cauliflower that I blanched from fresh stuff I bought at a mega sale. Stir together the red palm oil and regular liquid palm oil in a small dish. Heat 1 TB oil blend in a skillet over medium and saute garlic, scallions and cauliflower for 5 minutes until starting to carmelize. Transfer to a bowl. Add another TB of the oil blend into the skillet and cook the onions, okra, and bell pepper for 7 minutes. In a separate skillet, add 1 TB oil and cook the tofu until browned on the edges.
Into the onion skillet, add 2 more TB of oil (or whatever is left) and stir in curry paste, curry and ginger. Let cook until fragrant and then add rice and saute. Add ½ cup chicken stock and scrape up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the other ½ cup chicken stock, the tofu, the heavy cream and coconut oil. Add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Finally, add back the cauliflower and garlic and heat until cauliflower is warmed up. Serve. YUM.