I was just about to clean off my cutting board. We had cooked some creamer potatoes at both 65 degrees Celsius and then a second time at 83 degrees Celsius for a potato dish. We cook our potatoes in their jackets. The skins impart an exponential amount of flavor to potatoes. However, in our final presentation we did not want to serve the skins. Hence the fact that I ended up with a cutting board full of potato skins. As I gazed at the pile and pondered the dish, I realized I was looking at a pile of flavor. We put the potato skins and some cold grape-seed oil in a pot and brought the mixture to a simmer. We slowly fried the skins in the oil, stirring them occasionally, and watching them transform into potato cracklings.
When the potatoes where fully cooked and reminiscent of the often craved bar snack, potato skins, we tasted the oil left over from cooking the skins. The oil was rich in the flavor and aroma of potatoes and their crispy, roasted nuttiness. In fact, hints of truffle accent the flavor of that oil. The potato skin cracklings were supposed to be a by-product. When we tasted the crunchy morsels we realized we had yet another staple for our kitchen. The rich flavor of the cooked skins was accented by grassy notes and caramelized goodness. These fried potatoes became a catalyst for ideas. We had plans for using the potato oil to make mayonnaise to serve with the potatoes we had previously cooked. The potato skins, spiked with malt vinegar, would further accent the creamy condiment for the dish.
The dam is now open and ideas are pouring through. Octopus braised in fried potato oil would be smashing as would steak tartare enriched with either potato oil or potato mayonnaise. The fried potato cracklings are delicious on their own. What if we used them to infuse vodka for caviar service? These crispy flakes, similar to dark corn flakes could be ground to a crumb to use in breads or as a crust by themselves. The potato skins could also enrich an XO sauce hybrid and perhaps be used in its powdered form as a seasoning for slow cooked salmon, buttermilk poached chicken or a warm mushroom salad. The rich flavor would also add a distiguishing flavor to dashi and even be a great flavor for a micro stock. Potato skin ice ice cream, perhaps with fish tartare...an unlikely and still tasty fish and chips. Once again, we are surrounded by possibilities to explore.