Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Closeted Fetish

I may have mentioned this in the past: I have a sauce fetish. Simmer sauces. Marinades. Oils and vinegars. Spicy, tangy, sweet inspirations and possibilities bottled up for a bunch of theoretical parties I dream up and never have. I get sucked into the sale basket at Williams-Sonoma, the neat aisles at New Seasons, specialty vinegar import shops. If it's bottled and delicious, I just. Can't. Resist.

Which is kind of a problem, because I don't have infinite shelf space, and as much as I wished otherwise, sauces are not immortal. After a couple years they start to break down and get scary looking (a fact I just happened to discover when cleaning said pantry last month).

So I made myself a little mission for the week: use up some damn sauce! I had a lovely Williams-Sonoma barbecue braise sauce (marked down from $16.99 to $3.99... nice score, 2011 Tabitha!) I took out along with thin pork cutlets. Matt gave them a quick grill out the outside, and then they went for a quick braise in the oven, bathing in the deeply-flavorful barbecue sauce.

As I sat at my desk at work, working all day on a huge busywork project, I dreamed up a side: spicy crisp potatoes with a mustard and sriracha glaze. Um, yum! Hurry up, 5:00! I have had mixed results with making good crispy-roast potatoes, but what I've slowly learned through sad, soggy trial and error is that lots of heat and little movement is key. I sliced potatoes from the farmer's market, a mix of reds and Yukon golds, along with half a leftover red onion and tons of freshly-pressed garlic. I whisked Dijon mustard, sriracha sauce, olive oil and some of that wonderful pantry champagne vinegar to make a kind of vinaigrette sauce, which I poured over the potatoes.

"Are the pork chops in the oven?" Matt asked, sniffing at the savory air being endlessly circulated around our great room by the air conditioner. "Smells like bacon."


The perfect last touch to my potato side: a touch of leftover bacon from hamburger night a few days ago. I topped each potato neatly with a dice, and stuck the pan in the oven at 425 for 35 minutes while the braised pork cutlets rested. The result? CRISPY, SAUCY POTATOES! Who knew? Crusty on the edges, a perfect, soft toothsome bite in the middle. The sauce dreams come true!

One down, fifty-two bottles to go..... Tangy & Peppery Moroccan Sauce, anyone?

Sriracha-Mustard Crispy Potatoes
4 medium-sized potatoes, red or Yukon variety, halved and cut into even chunks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white champagne vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp sriracha sauce (or more, or less, to taste!)
1/8 tsp ground mustard seed
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of sliced parsley for topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread potatoes evenly on a baking sheet or stone so that no potatoes are touching. Sprinkle with onion and garlic.Top each potato with a bacon piece (or if you're not that anal and don't have to have bacon in every bite, just spread it wherever. Whatever, I can't police your kitchen.)

Whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, sriracha, mustard seed, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over potatoes, sprinkling with additional salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes without turning or flipping potatoes, although you can turn the pan around once in the oven halfway through cooking. Top with additional salt and pepper (potatoes need lots!), and fresh parsley.

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