Cooking with Potatoes from La Merenda Restaurant

Cooking with Potatoes from La Merenda Restaurant

Part of Ep. 2102 The Eyes Have It

Travel to the Milwaukee Public Market, where the chef and owner of La Merenda, Peter Sandroni, shares two of his favorite potato recipes.

Premiere date: May 08, 2013

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:

Now that we know how good potatoes are for you, we just have to eat more of them. So, we will. We are at Milwaukee Public Market and I am with chef Peter Sandroni of La Merenda Restaurant a multiple award winning restaurant where you serve tapas from all over the world using mostly local products.

 

Peter Sandroni:

As much as we can. In this particular dish, there's a lot of local ingredients.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well and these particular-- We're going to do two dishes with local potatoes.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Correct. So the first one is a classic Spanish called Patatas Bravas and Chorizo. We just start searing this guy off and I flip it over and get it in the oven so it gets evenly cooked on the inside while we finish off the potatoes. The potato that we used is a russet potato that we got from Igl Farm up in Antigo, Wisconsin.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

And we at the restaurant we pre-cook them. We pre-dice them and we do what we call a medium dice and that's a specific size.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So you peel them and dice them.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Peel them and dice them.

 

Shelley Ryan:

And you end up with that.

 

Peter Sandroni:

And we toss them in oil, salt and pepper, and we roast them in the oven and then we cool them.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

And when we get an order, because we can't do all that all at once.

 

Shelley Ryan:

You have to have some of it pre-prepared.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Correct. So we have been pre-sauteing this one right there they've got a nice color on them. We're ready to go. If you can pass me the two sauces that go with it.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

The first one is, the red sauce is the brava sauce and this is aioli. Brava is Spanish for angry.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So we're making angry potatoes.

 

Peter Sandroni:

That's exactly what we're doing. Nice and spicy. So we're going to hit this real quick to heat up the sauce and get these guys a nice even coat of the brava sauce.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Get that out of the way.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Thank you. Give that a little even coat.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Now real spicy, or does the sauce get soaked up by the potatoes. I feel it right now.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Well, there is a nice kick to it and we can smell that it's heating it, but it gets blended in well with the creamy potatoes. If you pass me a bowl real quick, we're going to plate this up right away.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Oh wow, we're ready that quick.

 

Peter Sandroni:

This is now quick this goes. That's the beauty of this dish. I love how fast it goes. And we are going to plate that like such.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay, we're missing something.

Peter Sandroni:

Yes, aioli and chorizo.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Oh, Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

So we're going to hit with the aioli. And this is exactly how it would be served in Spain.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Now does that lessen the heat as well?

 

Peter Sandroni:

It sure does and it's like a mayonnaise. You can buy a mayonnaise if you chose not to make an aioli.

 

Shelley Ryan:

A little smoke this time.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Yeah, a nice color on the chorizo there. We're going to slice that guy up. Hang onto that towel for me, please?

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Thank you. Cause at the restaurant it's tapas and we want to encourage people to share everything so we kind of pre-slice this.

 

Shelley Ryan:

That's the fun of that kind of restaurant where you get to taste a little bit of a lot.

 

Peter Sandroni:

You can present it however you'd like at home.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Oh, that's beautiful.

 

Peter Sandroni:

That's how we present it at the restaurant.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay, that's my potato healthy meal.

 

Peter Sandroni:

You know, I mean honestly, we roasted, we didn't fry. Kept a lot of the oil out of it.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Well, and olive oil's good for you anyhow, so.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Perfect.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay, this one looks more decadent but I'll eat it anyhow.

 

Peter Sandroni:

This is potato, leek and pork tart.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

We are using three different potatoes for this one. We have German butterball.

 

Shelley Ryan:

That's the round one, Okay.

 

Peter Sandroni:

That's correct. Corollas and Adirondack blue potatoes. All three of these came from Pinehold Garden in Oak Creek, so really close to the restaurant.

 

Shelley Ryan:

These are beautiful.

 

Peter Sandroni:

We pre-sliced and roasted these in advance. We just want to quick show you how to use a mandolin because I know a lot of people don't like using them.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Including me.

 

Peter Sandroni:

The reason being is most people are afraid of the blade and they go really slow. And when you go slow, you kind of get caught up on this blade. I tell people to practice. Make a bunch of stuff for your family.

 

Shelley Ryan:

And get over the fear of losing a finger.

Peter Sandroni:

Get over the fear and then you'll be able to go like this without even looking at it while I talk to you.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay. I'll let you do that.

 

Peter Sandroni:

So then we pre-roast these guys. We plated them up and we're just going to do one more topping.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Let me put that away.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Of the leek quark cream sauce.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Okay. What is quark? Define that.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Quark is a cheese that I tell everyone is very similar to ricotta. It has the mouth feel and the consistency of ricotta but instead of being finished with rennin, which is what they use in most cheeses, it gets finished with an acid, so it's kind of got like a goat cheese-like, kind of the after taste of the acidity that you get in goat cheese.

 

Shelley Ryan:

But like ricotta then, you can use it sweet or savory then?

 

Peter Sandroni:

Exactly.

 

Shelley Ryan:

And this is a local product for you?

 

Peter Sandroni:

It's a local product. This is just three blocks away from the restaurant.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Wow.

 

Peter Sandroni:

So it's just up the street from us. It's an urban creamery, one of only three different creameries in America and was the only one for a while all by itself right in the middle of Milwaukee. So we throw this one in the oven. And while this one bakes, we're going to pull out the one we already did earlier.

Shelley Ryan:

Boy, am I glad potatoes are good for us. I'll get that.

 

Peter Sandroni:

Thank you. So there is, you know you cook it for about 30-45 minutes. Everyone's oven is a little bit different. You want it kind of like a cheesecake look to it when you get that carmelization on the outside you know you're done.

 

Shelley Ryan:

And we will have all of these recipes on our website. So if you think you missed something, don't worry about it. We'll have it there for you. And these are mine. Peter, thank you. I'm so glad potatoes are good for us.

 

Peter Sandroni:

My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

 

 

 

 

 

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