This may be my laziest meal yet. But it's been a busy weekend, and my hubby is pretty easy to please. Like I've said before, he loves pork and potatoes like the proverbial fat kid loves cake (I'm the fat kid in this scenario; he's super thin). So I took eight medium-sized red potatoes and microwaved them at two-minute intervals until they were easy to slide a fork into. Lazy, I tell you. Can't even be bothered to bake the potatoes. Set aside.
I cooked a package of thick-cut bacon in the laziest way possible: under the broiler. See that cookie sheet pictured below? You can lay bacon out on it, put it under a 350 degree broiler, and it will cook evenly in twenty minutes or so without crapping up your stove top and popping you in the eye every time you lean over it (am I the only one that happens to?). When the bacon is done, transfer it to a plate with a paper towel to drain. Since bacon grease is like cash money around here, I got out my nearly empty mason jar, put a strainer over it, and tipped the run-off into my stash. Because God forbid we run out of bacon grease up in here. If you do hang on to the grease, and you ought to, make sure you let it cool to room temp before you put it back in the fridge to prevent bacteria growth. Chop the bacon into whatever size makes you happy.
On the still greasy cookie sheet, space your potatoes evenly apart. Using whatever smashing mechanism you fancy, just press the potatoes until they flatten a bit without totally disintegrating. I put a tiny bit of butter on each potato, layered them with bacon, and cracked a generous amount of black pepper over them. Put them back under the broiler to warm it all and crisp up the edges.
Now for the part that cuts through all the grease and makes this plate of food shine like one of my students before they get their first paper back. Quick-pickled vegetables are bright, cut through rich, fatty foods, and are super easy to make. In a desperate attempt to get some veg into my husband, I went with carrots, onion, and a little garlic. You can also use cucumber, fennel, radish, etc.... Cut three carrots, half an onion, and two cloves of garlic pretty thin. If you have a mandolin collecting dust somewhere, bust it out.
- 6-8 medium sized red or white potatoes, unpeeled and washed
- 1 package of your favorite bacon (remember, you can certainly use shredded turkey, one of those rotisserie chickens, pulled pork, roast, etc...If you use one of these other proteins, just make sure you spray or grease the cookie sheet before putting the potatoes on it)
- cracked pepper (you will want to season with salt if you use another protein, but bacon is plenty salty without adding more)
- 1/2 teaspoon butter per potato
When the bacon is cooked, pour the grease through a strainer into a glass or plastic receptacle and save for future recipes. Let it cool before refrigerating. Chop bacon into bite-sized pieces.
On your still greasy cookie sheet, space the potatoes evenly, and smash them until they're flat but not destroyed. Put 1/2 tsp butter on each potato, season with cracked pepper, and sprinkle a layer of bacon over each one. Return to oven under the broiler for a few minutes until the edges of your potato are crispy.
- Veg of your choice (cucumber, onion, garlic, carrots, leeks, almost anything can be pickled), thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1 cup Mirin rice vinegar
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 3 juniper berries
- 2 star anise (whole)
- 1 T mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicy)
- pinch cayenne (more if you want it spicy)
- 5 turns of the salt grinder (you don't want to use iodized table salt, however)
Layer your sliced veg into a glass jar. Depending on how crunchy you want your pickles, you can either add your veggies to the boiling brine for a minute or two (for soft veggies), let the brine stop boiling and pour it over your veggies while it's still pretty warm (this will soften veggies enough to keep them from being totally raw--avoid this with cucumber however, as they can get mushy quickly), or let it cool completely before adding it to the veggie jar (for totally crisp, raw veggies). Let these sit for as long as possible before serving. If you can, make them the day before or the morning of the meal so the flavors can meld and absorb into the veggies fully. However, even making them an hour before dinner is served will still give you good flavor.