(photo: fried potatoes with flat romano beans, garlic, and tomato paste)
You may think that there’s not much of a connection between McDonald’s and rural Italian cuisine
but the two modes of eating, however far apart, are connected by the fried potato. While McDonald’s fried potatoes (or french fries) are comprised of:
potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. The Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.
the rural fried potatoes found in provinces like Calabria have a handful of ingredients, including thinly cut potatoes, garlic, hot pepper flakes, flat beans, and olive oil.
The following is a recipe derived from Nonna Vincenzina in Pellegrina (Bagnara Calabra) who ,with a little bit of business training, could have made a fortune with her own version of Italian style, fried potatoes. You have my guarantee you’ll love her fried potato recipe!
- Two large Idaho potatoes
- 1/2 pound of flat green (Romano) beans
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1-2 teaspoons of hot pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Being by peeling the potatoes and cutting them in 1/8 inch slices. Next, submerge the potatoes in a large bowl of water and repeat process into the water turns clear (you’re looking to remove the starch from the exterior of the potato as it will help during the cooking process). Add the olive oil to a large fry pan and add your potatoes (making sure the potatoes are well dried). After adding the potatoes, allow them to cook, untouched, for 5-7 minutes. Stir the potatoes and make sure both sides begin to brown and crisp up. Remove the cooked potatoes and place in a bowl with a few paper towels. Next, remove the stems from the green beans and quickly steam the beans for 2-3 minutes. Chop your garlic cloves into think slices and add to the fry pan with oil. Next, add the steam green beans and the tomato paste. Season the ingredients with salt and pepper and add the fried potatoes back the fry pan. Combine the ingredients until the tomato paste is dissolved and the potatoes and beans are coated with the paste.
The end result is a wonderfully satisfying peasant dish that goes well with roasted baby goat, steak, or as a side dish with grilled swordfish.