Sicilian Chips

When you have discovered that you like something a certain way, it can be a struggle to do it any other way. That’s certainly the case in my house; if we have chips then we have chips with fennel seeds. However, I spotted this recipe in Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi’s ‘Sicily’, and it looked too good not to make – so I didn’t tell anybody what I was making, presenting it as a fait accompli. It was a good move, this is absolutely delicious and I can see it being a regular request from now on.

Cut the chips small, about as thick as your little finger, don’t overdo the tomatoes (they release too much moisture in the oven, which hinders the chips from getting crunchy) and be generous with the black olives. Olives with the stones still in taste infinitely better that without, but don’t go the the effort of removing the stones – the cooked olive flesh is meltingly soft and comes off the stones easily so leave it to your dinner companions to do it themselves.

We had this with pan-fried sea bass fillets, but it would work well with any firm white fish (cod, hake, tilapia, even monkfish if you’re pushing the boat out) or salmon.

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RECIPE serves 4

750g floury potatoes (i.e. King Edwards, Roosters, Maris Piper), peeled and cut into chips

2 red onions, cut from root to tip and cut into wedges

2 tsp dried oregano

150g cherry tomatoes, cut in half around the equator

a generous handful (or two) of black olives

a generous glug of olive oil

sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper


METHOD

Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ Gas 6.

Put the chips into a large pan of cold, lightly salted water and bring to the boil. When just boiling, reduce to a steady simmer and cook for two minutes. Drain in a colander, and allow most of the surface moisture to steam off.

meanwhile, line a couple of large baking trays with parchment paper, toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and divide between the two baking trays. Do not crowd the trays, allow plenty of room between the different elements so they can roast properly.

Cook for 35-45 minutes until you can’t resist the smell anymore, the chips are golden brown and the onions are just starting to catch and caramelise. Transfer to a warm serving dish and serve immediately alongside your choice of fish and a big pile of rocket leaves.

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