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Duck Fat Steak Fries – There’s a New Fat in Town

You know a potato side dish is going to be good when 75% of the name refers to fat or meat. These super-crusty, oven-fried potato wedges, or “steak fries” as they call them where I’m from, are done with rendered duck fat, and while I’m a big fan of ones done with olive oil and/or butter, these really are better.


Not only does this fat help create a great texture, but it also adds a layer of richness and meatiness to the potatoes that’s nothing short of magical. Back in the day, you had to work or eat in a restaurant that served duck to enjoy this special treat, but happily, those days are over.

Thanks to evangelizing celebrity chefs and apparently smarter marketing people in the duck industry, this rendered fat is now pretty easy to find. My neighborhood Whole Foods stocks it, and I’ve seen it at many of the higher-end grocery stores.

By the way, if you’re concerned about that next cholesterol test, relax; duck fat is surprisingly healthy, and a quick Google search should explain why without me having to type any more. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 large russet potatoes
2-3 tablespoons duck fat
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
– 325 F. for 40 minutes
– 450 F. for about 20 minutes or until done

Ultimate Mashed Potatoes – Not Your Every Day Recipe

Every year around holiday time, I see people posting recipes for low-fat and no-fat mashed potatoes, which I find as sad, as I do perplexing. There’s no sane doctor alive, or bartender for that matter, who will tell you eating a scoop of these mashed potatoes a few times a year will, in any way, negatively effect your health.

So what’s up with the reduced-fat holiday potatoes? Isn’t that the reason we try to eat well all year, so on Thanksgiving we can bathe guilt-free in gravy? Sure, serving your loved ones potatoes with a pound of butter in them on a regular basis would be cause for alarm…or at least a glance at any recently purchased life insurance policies…but for truly special occasions, it’s crazy not to enjoy such a pleasure.


By the way, this is no viral-video gimmick. Those star chefs you see Anthony Bourdain dry-humping every week (sorry, I was channeling my inner Anthony Bourdain) all use at least this much butter, and as legend has it, some even flirt with equal parts. Of course, they call it pomme purée, and say it with a French accent, but it’s the same stuff.

Nobody says you have to go full Joël Robuchon and actually use this recipe, but please try to force yourself to add more than the few meager tablespoons that get us through the rest of the year. Anyway, if you’re never experienced this ethereal pleasure, I hope you make them a part of your next special occasion menu. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions:
3 1/4 pounds russet potatoes (3 or 4)
Note: this will not work with red potatoes, as they are too waxy
1 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup hot milk
salt and pepper to taste

Fisherman’s Pie – The Deadliest Casserole

I’ve never been a huge fan of the fisherman reality shows
like Wicked Tuna and Deadliest Catch. Seems like every situation that comes up, no matter how mundane, is made to look like a matter of life and death. Sure it’s relatively dangerous compared
to selling shoes, but they’re mostly just fishing in crappy weather.

Riveting
slip and falls notwithstanding, I think the real challenge in that environment
would be trying to cook a decent meal. Imagine putting together this delicious, potato-crust-topped
cod and spinach casserole in the galley of one of those boats. I actually
get woozy thinking about it. 

Luckily most of us have a nice steady oven at
home in which to make this comforting dish happen, rogue wave free. Speaking of the oven, be sure to check your fish to see if
it’s flaking before taking it out. Mine took about 40 minutes, but my sauce and
potatoes were warm. If you make your components ahead and they cool down, or
your fish is thicker, it may take a while longer to bake, so poke and peek. You
can always fix the top, and thanks to the broiler, no one will be the wiser. I
hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!



For potato crust:
3 russet potatoes
3 tbsp butter
nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
1/2 cup milk
For the sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cold milk
2 tsp lemon zest
salt to taste
For the rest:
1 tbsp butter to grease dish
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
2 pounds boneless cod filets
12 oz washed baby spinach
juice of 1/2 lemon
fresh chives to garnish