Saturday, May 5, 2012
Duck Fat Is Where It's At: A Story of a Potatoes, Onions, Eggs, Cheese, and a Very Handy Skillet
The unnecessarily long title of this post should give one warning of the numerous and somewhat convoluted thoughts swirling in my head. I shall enumerate them.
1.) Having successfully avoided the grocery thus far (save a trip for milk, strawberries, and blueberries, which is allowed according to the rules), I can't believe I didn't turn to eggs, potatoes, onions, and cheese for a dinner idea sooner.
2.) That Slate article about caramelized onions by Tom Scocca is 100% true. It takes 35 minutes to get the job done and anyone telling you 10 minutes has flaming pants and a really, really, really long nose.
3.) Why doesn't every household in America have a cast iron skillet? They cost, like, $18 at Kroger for the big one. You never have to wash it, just wipe it (or rarely scrub with salt & a smidge of water). It adds iron to your food-- no lie. It provides a superior cooking surface that is nonstick. It can go from stove top to oven. And, it makes the best grilled cheese on the planet, and I stand by this assertion. Go get one today. Caveat: They are reactive so don't cook acidic things, like tomatoes and vinegar, in them. It'll make it taste a little weird.
4.) I used the duck fat I rendered the other day to cook the potatoes and onions and it was... Amazing. That stuff is terrific. Bacon fat, also good, would make a terrific runner-up, I'm sure.
Potato, Egg, and Cheese Skillet
rendered duck fat
3 large potatoes cut into chunks
2 large onions thickly sliced 1/2 rings
1 ts of sugar
2 eggs (whisked in a little bowl waiting in the wings)
1 C of crumbled queso fresco
chives chopped or snipped
In skillet number one add two tbs of the fat of your choice (duck fat), heat over medium and add onions. Start stirring. If you go too long without stirring, the onions will burn. About 10 or 15 minutes or so, add 1 ts of sugar and 1/2 ts of salt. Continue stirring. For the last 10 minutes (25 minutes into the 35 minute total), increase heat to medium high. Stir, stir, stir!
Meanwhile, in skillet number two (the cast iron one) melt another two tablespoons of the fat of your choice. Olive oil would be fine.
Add the thickly sliced potatoes, sprinkle with 1 ts of salt and 1/2 ts of pepper, cover with an ill fitting lid, and cook over medium (or a hair under medium) for 20 minutes.
Take lid off of potatoes, flip them, and continue to cook uncovered for another 5 minutes.
Turn off all the burners.
Add the egg to the skillet and swirl it around a bit to evenly coat the bottom.
Arrange the caramelized onions on to of the potatoes.
Add the cheese and put cast iron (or oven-safe) skillet into the oven to broil on high for 1 minute.
That's it. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chives. Voila! C'est fini! Et, fin.