A Garland of Potatoes and Vegetables and a Good Bit of Scraping

You know the lyrics to the Blues Brothers’ “Rawhide’ song, don’t you?  that bit when the verse is all about ‘ rollin rollin rollin ‘ repeated ad infinitum ?

Well, I was using a wooden spoon to dislodge the bits of crispy potato that had stuck to the bottom of the pan yesterday and found myself humming the rawhide tune, substituting ‘rollin’ for ‘scraping’. It shall henceforth be known as the ‘scraping, scraping, scraping’ potato dish in my household.

1 It all begins with some guanciale  (pork jowl) …2 Parboil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, then drain them and place them in a comfy frying pan with plenty of olive oil to welcome them.  I had a couple of  bayleaves handy so I added those too.  I suppose thyme or rosemary would have also been very good. Turn the heat on.3 Once  the potatoes have started to brown on one side, shake them about a little bit and then add the chopped up guanciale.  Carry on cooking …4 At some point, the potatoes are going to crispen up to the poin that they will stick to the frying pan.  Not a problem.  Start scraping and carry on cooking.5 Once the potates are indeed cooked … set them aside in another dish.  And now the scraping begins in earnest.  Sing the rawhide tune to the words ‘scraping, scraping, scraping’ … and then add those delicious crispy bits to the potatoes.6

Here … see? And this was step one.

Step two:


Cooking small onions in a sweet and sour sauce.  Boil the onions until fairly tender, then drain.  Put them in a small frying pan, add olive oil, spoonfuls of sugar, pinch of salt, and a good glug of vinegar.
8 And this is what they look like after a while.

Step three:9


Step three was cooking some cavolo nero (kale) that had previously been blanched together with some plain ol’ cabbage.  I did add a little garlic to the mix but removed it before serving.

And now it was time to assemble the vegetable garland.10

Start with the green vegetables on the outside …11Fill with the scraping scraping scraping potatoes ….

12And dot the outer rim of the serving dish with the cipolline in agrodolce (the caramelised baby onions).

14 A close-up to show the gloss.  Glossy vegetables are the best, aren’t they?

I was very pleased with myself in a Little Jack Horner what-a-good-boy-am-I sort of way and thoroughly enjoyed creating a garland of vegetables to accompany the rest of the meal.15 16
A fitting accompaniment that was very much appreciated.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
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10 Responses to A Garland of Potatoes and Vegetables and a Good Bit of Scraping

  1. Jody and Ken says:

    I loved the coda at the end… oh, and here’s this wonderful filet en croute sort of thing that I just tossed off to go with the vegetable garland. Ha! Ken

  2. Some guanciale and properly sauted potatoes can do wonders (to the spirit and to the bell), guanciale is alas virtually impossible to find here in London (but the Brits can boast some super bacon. To be honest), so no real matriciana for instance + this garland has a nice retro air, it reminds me of some late1960s/early 1970 s cookery books, like the excellent, now almost forgotten (I think) Il Millericette (that Gianni Brera himself reccomnded If I am not mistaken)
    …one thing (at least) that the British do better than the Italians are potatos, in terms of variety and quality. AS for cavolo nero/kale is almost unavoidable here: the Britis (like the Americans, judging from cookery sites) have become obsessed by it. I stick to my Milanese roots and use mainly savoy/verza, which I think has a better flavour. S

  3. Do you think it’s time for a bit of rétro cooking again, à la 1960s or early 1970s? I do !!!

  4. Karen says:

    Pleased indeed, your special meal looks fit for a king.

  5. Gorgeous – love the potatoes and love, love the onions. It all looks wonderful but that beef looks spectacular!! (Yes, I am catching up on all your posts which I have missed terribly – sorry to be MIA – it’s been hectic x)

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