I appreciate the potato only as a protection against famine; except for that I know of nothing more eminently tasteless.Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Hmmm…while Brillat-Savarin is one of the culinary world’s historical icons, his view of the potato was pretty low. Don’t always follow everything an expert tells you is the message to be learned here! Is there any food that you could possibly think of that is more deliciously nutritious, universally loved, accessible to all, and easier to cook into more recipes than there are days in the year? A native of the Americas, this potato is grown all over the world and factors in every cuisine. That’s quite unique to most foods so I like to give it a little praise when I can, sorry Brillat-Savarin, you’re wrong on this one. Today we will talk about a favorite Potato dish of mine, POTATOES O’BRIEN. Google it. There are thousands of recipes and stories about it. Let’s get to the heart of this delicious American dish, starting with…point of origin. It’s a story lost in the annals of American food history. Could be Boston. Might be New York City. Most legends name Manhattan as the point of invention so I’ll run with that premise.
The dish is not Irish but does work well into an IrishAmerican St.Patrick’s Dinner, or any time of the year since a restaurant cook nicknamed “BEEFSTEW O’Brien” is said to have created it in the late 1800’s at a Manhattan restaurant he worked in. Legend states that he was tired of serving the all brown HASH BROWNED POTATO and decided to throw in some BLING for color and additional flavor. Green Bell Peppers and Pimentos along with onions were tossed in the skillet with the browning potatoes, cooking in bacon grease. Sidebar here…animal fat creates the best crisp texture and color in a fried potato…think fries cooked in duck fat..lush, crisp, fantastic. But, go one step further, and add some diced bacon to this dish. Now we are talking. OK, note to my vegan and vegetarian readers…remove the bacon and bacon fat from this dish and using a vegetable or coconut oil you can create a wonderful meatless O’Brien. See, Potatoes are for everyone!
This potato dish is quite versatile as well, perfect as a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner menu item. Make it when the mood strikes and it works great for outdoor grill/bbq meals, with meat, vegetables, or seafoods.
TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4