Gepofte aardappel haring

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‘Gepofte aardappel haring’

The ‘Gepofte aardappel haring’ was a dish presented to the visitors of fanfare, Amsterdam.

It consisted of "puffed potatoes", a technic which is based on cooking thin sheets of potatoes in two batches of oil, both at different temperatures.

The dish was shown and accompanied by a podcast laying out the reasons why the dish may be both environmentally and culturally resilient in the North Holland region.

To listen to the podcast:

The podcast can be found on the podcast app (by researching “The Soft Protest Digest”/Gepofte aardappel haring) or by following this link to our Soundcloud.

Transcript of the podcast of the “Gepofte aardappel haring”

The dutch herring (‘de nederlandse haring’)

"The potato is not a robust vegetable. Its vulnerability to diseases does not make it a great candidate for environmental resiliency.

However, for a few years now, dutch farmers have been working on improving old varieties of potatoes, formerly grown close to the coast (therefore better in withstanding the salty sea water) and started to work on their cultivation. By using this method, their potato can now strive in salt water, which makes it quite climate resilient in terms of flooding (handy for a country such as the NL!) and gives it a slightly more salty and, surprisingly, sweet flavor. We may, however, still wait a few years for this sea water crop to flood the market. So for the time being, and for our climate resilient diet to succeed, we can simply reduce our monthly intake of conventional potato.

But, what about our beloved dutch fries, onze nederlandse patatje? What would we dip in our sate sauce and mayonnaise? We could surely never get used to a smaller serving… Enters, the puffed potato. If we consider that an average serving of fries requires 2 potatoes, this technic only calls on the use of less than one: reducing our consommation by two. The puffed potato may be filled with air, your paper cone will however be filled to the rim. There is little chance you may feel the need to order another one.

But what is the puff potato?
Simply, the result of a thermal choc. By frying a potato slice in a lukewarm oil, then suddenly dropping it in a piping hot one, the air expands and an air bubble forms which makes the potato, puff. This technic may be more time consuming than your average fry but the feeling of having a full plate of patat will remain the same.

However, to prevent the dutch from being confronted with dull hollow fries, the shape of the ‘resilient fry’ was here redefined to echo this praised Belgian legend:

The inhabitants of Namur (Belgium), especially the poorest class, used to fish in the nearby river (La Meuse), to fry the smallest, inexpensive fishes and to eat them warm and whole. But when the winter ice griped the streams and closed the door to fishing, the poor fish fryers started to cut up potatoes in the shape of small fishes, fry them, and serve them as is.

This story which narrates, for many, the invention of the fry in northern europe seems to be more than adequate for the ‘resilient puffed fry’ to become a dutch dish of its own. First, and funnily enough, the original recipe of the puffed potato called on the use of a ‘dutch potato’ (in our case, a well sourced Bintje) and to exclusively be served an accompaniment of a fish dish.
Second, this fish shaped fried potato could become an alternative to the traditional cured haring served on dutch fish stands and shops. Seasoned with pickle and onions it could be serve in times of overfishing (which is actually occurring today, forcing the main dutch haring manufacturers to buy their fishes from Norway and Denmark). The dutch seem to be ready for a meatless monday, they may be also keen on a month of the potato haring.”

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 Bintje potatoes
  • 500ml of rapeseed oil
  • Salt

Preparation

1. Peel the potatoes.
2. With a mandolin, slice the potatoes lengthwise on the thicker setting (approx. 2mm).
3. Place the largest slices of potato between two sheets of kitchen paper to absorb the moisture (you can use the smallest slices for a bake or to thicken a soup).
4. When dry to the touch, cut out fish shapes in each slices and place on a dry sheet of kitchen paper.
5. Heat up 2 batches of oil, respectively, 140°c and 190°c.
6. Place a few fishes (the more fishes, the more chance for them to puff) in the 140°c bath.
7. Constantly stirring the pan for all the fishes to be evenly bathed with hot oil, fry until the potatoes start to blister (approx. 5min).
8. Put the fishes aside on kitchen paper to cool completely.
9. Drop the fishes into the 190°c oil and, with a slotted spoon, push to fully emerge them in the piping hot oil. 9. Fry until golden brown (approx. 1.5min).
10. Put the fishes aside to cool on kitchen paper, season with salt.
11. Serve hot, or leave to cool and drop in the 190°c oil for a few seconds to reheat.

Note: Serve with white wine vinegar, diced onions and pickle, or a pickled onion mayonnaise.

Products

Resilience of the dish and its products:

Click to zoom in on the receipts 🔍