Cycle 14 – Item 190
14 (Fri) July 2023
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with W and IZ
The Gamja Project (10)
In this series, I cook potato dishes using freshly harvest gamja gifted to us from a neighboring farmer at the cabin (for more background and related posts, see THE GAMJA PROJECT).
I’d made patatas bravas previously (see 6.005 Patatas Bravas with Bacalao), but – without bothering to check that prior post before getting started this time – I had forgotten that I’d followed the same crappy recipe in the cookbook Tapas Step-by-Step (see most recently 14.182 Spanish Tortilla). So, in failing to study GMTD history, I was doomed to repeat it.
Hit and miss. Confirming my first impression 8.5 years ago, the sauce was disappointing: cooking for only 15 minutes, the tomatoes tasted underdeveloped. But the potatoes were perfectly cooked this time, crispy on the outside, fluffy within – and the skins provided additional flavor and texture.
2.7 kg of potatoes remaining.
Korean-Swedish Culinary Exchange (26)
In this series, Number One Swedish Fan GK and I collaborate to cook dishes in our respective kitchens on a specific theme – most commonly, I make something Swedish, while he makes something Korean – then share photos and comments (for more background and related posts, see KSCX).
[The italicized comments below are GK’s own words, with minor typographical edits from me.]
I’m reporting back from my attempt to try to make, for the first time, one of my favorite Spanish dishes, which happens to be (at least partly) potato based: “Ensaladilla Rusa” (Russian potato salad), a tapa you can find at almost every bar in Spain. I followed this recipe.
I did some variations from the recipe though. The recipe called for the potatoes and carrots first to be boiled, then peeled and cut into cubes. Considering it would be much quicker and save energy, I started with peeling, then cutting, then cooking. I also cooked frozen green beans and peas.
I tried making mayonnaise from scratch according to the recipe, but I unfortunately failed. I should add that I’ve had the experience several times to fail when trying to make mayonnaise/aioli from scratch due to the ingredients not being of the same temperature (the eggs just being taken from the fridge and thus not achieving an emulsion, no matter how hard I whisk them). I did another try after letting the egg stand on the counter for a couple of hours, but still, failure again.
For the purpose of this dish, I just went and bought some ready-made mayo from the store. Unfortunately, because of that, I didn’t get to see the difference between “normal” mayo and “clarified mayo” (mayo with egg whites mixed in). The recipe called for mixing most of the ingredients with the “clarified” mayo, then mix each of the ingredients separately with the “normal” mayo and put them on top.
Was it worth the effort? I’m kinda torn. It was okay, but the recipe was a bit too big (I should have realized that before starting cooking though). It was kinda similar to the Ensaladilla Rusa I’ve tried in Spain, but still, not as good. I kinda messed up on the size of the potatoes and carrots (should have been smaller). And I of course also messed up on the mayo.
In the end, it wasn’t all a failure. I got to try to make a new Spanish tapa. And I got inspired to try to get better at making mayo, although that may not be too good for my efforts to try to watch my weight.
On my effort:
- I am very disappointed at myself for making the same mediocre recipe twice, even though the first time had been clearly documented on GMTD. As such, I am determined to redeem myself by making a proper rendition of this dish in the near future.
- Aside from the sauce, I was happy to learn that I could simply deep-fry potato cubes and serve them as a snack.
On GK’s effort:
- Interesting that our respective choices of Spanish potato dishes would be so diametrically different.
- This might be the most beautiful dish that GK has offered in the series, at least in recent memory.
- But the amounts of egg and shrimp appear insufficient compared to the rest of the ingredients.
- In my experiences at Spanish restaurants – albeit, primarily in Manila, though also Spain itself – I don’t recall ever seeing the dish on any menu – not that I’m disputing GK’s claim of its ubiquity.
- A curious choice to make a Spanish dish that Spaniards themselves, presumably, based on the name, consider to be non-Spanish in origin.
- If the mayo swapped out with sour cream, this could also seem Swedish.
- I’ve made something similar, which I attributed to Japanese (see 4.224 Salada), though at the time I hadn’t considered whether the Russian dish might be the original source.
- On my one and only trip to Russia, I observed that the food felt immediately familiar to mainstream American fare (e.g., potato salad), which had been brought over by immigrants from northern Europe, including possibly Russians.
- IZ has a Vostok watch, a Russian brand, though he refuses to wear it these days because of the war – just saying.
GK has already provided photos and comments for another Spanish potato dish, which I’ll pair at random with my next potato dish (not Spanish).
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)