Can someone please explain why the weather has got cold again, just when I’ve finished storing all warm clothes away, swapped my winter wardrobe for a more summery version and found all my lovely bathing suits? We’re in the mountains and it’s 6C! How am I supposed to handle this?
Cooking is always the answer, and nothing could be more appropriate for a day like this than a mountainy and hearty meal.. Like potatoes! It’s amazing how much joy potatoes can give us, in any form or shape! Think about it. It’s a vegetable that we’ve loved from a very young age and continue to do so forever. Isn’t that the definition of everlasting love?
It’s also one of the very few vegetables that can be healthy and homemade but can also be an easy street food option, filled with guilty calories, junk food! Yeap, potatoes are exactly that and they are one of the most beloved vegetables in the world!
My relationship with potatoes –perhaps because I’m not a huge fan of desserts- is a serious affair. They’re like my dessert. They remind me of very warm moments, of homemade, Sunday meals that are always combined with potatoes. I remember a platter with golden, crispy potatoes approaching the table and us, as children, stretching our arms to grab as many as possible! Although potatoes don’t have a very distinctive smell, they remind me of a very familiar scent, the scent of comfort, the scent of a very homy and loving situation!
As I’m growing older, guilt is starting to raise a wall between me and potatoes. It’s after a certain age when you start counting calories, worry and wonder how many calories potatoes have, and how often you should consume them. So you try to be extra careful with the method of cooking them. They become a forbidden fruit and we all know how much more desirable that makes them. Spontaneous moments of joy in front of a platter filled with fried potatoes now belong in the past and they’re considered a luxury, saved for selective, precious occasions. Luckily, a bag of potato chips is always hidden somewhere in a kitchen cupboard, for those moments when you simply need them!
The weather has decided to strike back with low temperatures today and we’ve come to the mountains. We didn’t expect it to be so cold and didn’t bring any sweaters or jackets with us, and they’re much needed. We need the warmth of fire and food, filling and tasteful food! Given the circumstances, I believe I’m allowed to cook potatoes!
Our recipe for the day is very mountainy and satisfying, the definition of comfort food! A chargrilled meal in the fireplace! No, our potatoes won’t be that much of a guilty pleasure but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be less delicious.
But chargrilled potatoes are more than just food, the process of making them is just as important; preparing them, waiting impatiently for them to be cooked and then adding any ingredients you like. Being next to the fire, stirring the coals! Kids love those cooking games, and it’s also a great opportunity for them to learn that potatoes can be delicious and inviting without being fried! And that’s our goal today!
4 big potatoes (usually 1 for everyone)
Coarse sea salt
Olive oil or 1tsp butter for each potato
1 chili pepper
4 pieces of baking paper
4 pieces of tin foil
1. Wash the potatoes very thoroughly. Place each one on a piece of baking paper. Add some salt, pepper and scatter little branches of any herb you like around the potato. Close the paper and tie it with cooking string. Place each wrapped potato on a piece of tin foil and close it very well. Throw the potatoes on the coals and forget about them for about 1-1.30 hour. You can see if they’re ready by poking through them with a thin knife.
2. When they’re ready, cut them open with a knife, the way you see in the pictures above. Stir the inside of the potato lightly with a spoon and add as much salt, pepper, oil or butter as you please. Serve with chopped red chili pepper, chopped chives, parmesan flakes and herbs.