Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ottolenghi's Shallow-Fried Potatoes with Sumac and Garlic Scapes

Groceries, especially meats, have been at an all-time high the past month. I'm talking $40 for a choice cut roast, $35 for five mediocre pork chops, and $18 for three pounds of ground beef. That is phenomenally high when you consider those things used to cost me $12, $8, and $10, respectively. For this reason, we've been skipping the meat and eating more veg.

I've been venturing out to my local farmer's market lately as it's not crowded and I want to support the local farmers. Garlic scapes are in season right now. If you're not familiar with them, they are the flowers of the garlic plant and need to be harvested prior to harvesting the garlic bulbs. I've been wanting to work with them for a while now but wasn't sure what to do with them.

Turns out, you use them just as you would use garlic. They say the garlic scapes are not as garlicky, so you may need to use more of them if you're using them as a replacement for garlic. Start by cutting the flowery part off - it is full of seeds and you may not wish to eat it (I used mine as a garnish only). You can cut the stem however you choose. I chose to cut mine on a bias, but thin slices will also work. It felt good to try something new.

Let's talk sumac. The sumac bush is native to the Middle East and produces deep red berries that are dried and ground into a coarse powder. It can be described as tart/sour and can be used in place of lemon. It also adds a bright pop of color. I have enjoyed it as a rub, sprinkled on top of hummus, and over certain Middle Eastern salads. I love the flavor, but I don't have an opportunity to use it that much, so I'm always looking for ways to use up my jar.

So now we have potatoes, garlic, garlic scapes, sumac, and bacon fat. Yes, I save my bacon fat. Ottolenghi uses olive oil to fry his potatoes, but in my experience, bacon fat is much more flavorful and effective. First of all, you don't have to use as much bacon fat and best of all, the potatoes will never burn. Bacon fat is simply superior. Start saving it.

You now have 5 superstar ingredients and a recipe for success. You cannot go wrong here. It may seem scary to cook the garlic cloves on the stovetop for 30 minutes - I was skeptical that they would burn and become bitter. This is not the case. I cooked this dish over low heat for 30 minutes and the garlic cloves become golden brown and caramelized, little nuggets of bliss. When I realized how beautiful the garlic was I wish I had used an entire head of garlic and I most definitely will next time!

This is a DELICIOUS dish. Trust me and throw in an entire head of garlic cloves. I loved pairing a potato with an entire caramelized clove of garlic and eating them together. Total heaven! The garlic scapes contributed a subtle garlic flavor but were really much more of a garnish than anything. The generous sprinkling of sumac goes a long way in brightening the whole dish up and making your mouth do a little pucker.

This is a fabulous side dish and/or appetizer and one that I would happily make again! We loved it!

Shallow-Fried Potatoes with Sumac and Garlic Scapes
Adapted from Ottolenghi Simple
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 4

10 tablespoons olive oil*
1 pound potatoes, quartered lengthwise
5 garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste
3 rosemary sprigs*
3 thyme sprigs*
2 teaspoons sumac
2 garlic scapes, flowers removed, cut on a bias*

*Note: I altered this recipe to suit what I had on hand. I like to fry my potatoes in bacon fat and I had some on hand, so I subbed bacon fat for olive oil. I also decided to sub the rosemary and thyme for some fresh organic garlic scapes. You can use garlic scapes as you would use garlic, but take note that they are not as garlicky as the cloves.

Get a really good nonstick fry pan or cast iron and place oil and or bacon fat over low-medium heat. Once hot, add potatoes, garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fry gently for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are golden brown and soft. Add rosemary and thyme and or garlic scapes and fry for another 5 minutes, until herbs or scapes are aromatic.

Use a slotted spoon - you want most of the oil to be drained off - to transfer the potatoes and herbs or scapes to a serving plate. Stir in the sumac and serve.

Farmer's Market/Local Feed Week @ IHCC


  1. I think food prices are going high every where. This looks so nice and delicious.

  2. I made these recently and was amazed at how delicious they were! So so good. ANd yes...I suppose it's a good time to be vegetarian with how crazy the meat prices are going lately!

  3. I like the way to describe the dish with potatoes, garlic scapes and sumac: bliss. I love the summer months when we can get farm fresh produce. We haven't been eating that much meat and, honestly, we don't miss it. I'll take my veggies everyday.

  4. I joined you in making fried potatoes but I posted about them on my book blog for a book review, Irish setting. Love the looks of yours.

    Food prices have gone up here as well. What a world we live in now! I made an eggplant parm for luncha nd it's cooking right now. More veggie meals in our future but I could stand to cut back on red meats anyway.


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