Potatoes with melting cheese

Cooking via zoom is our new way to connect with friends during this prolonged social-distancing period. It was so fun! Our next step is zumba via zoom to burn all the calories intake 🙂

A couple of months (oh gosh, months!) ago, we had dinner in Claudia’s garden. Not only did she indulge us with an amazing elaborated meal of pozole and tequila shots, she also walked us through a brief history of pozole.

Claudia: In our culture, we cook pozole with our enemy’s meat.

Me (suspicious): Where is Bernardo? Really, where is he?

So, I’m happy to report that we did see Bernardo via zoom today. All safe! On the menu of our cooking session today were Vietnamese rice noodle bowl with stir-fried beef and French apple tarte tatin with spices. Gil, Claudia, and Claudia’s mom were enthusiastic foodies. The dishes turned out super yummy, except that Gil’s tarte tatin lost almost all the delicious caramel sauce (the poor guy used a removable-bottom cake pan, and this ignorant self-claimed teacher said it was okay. Oops! Next time. There will always be a next time.)

Potatoes with melting cheese

(Adapted from Nuno Mendes’ My Lisbon)

Serves 4:

3 lbs small Yukon potatoes (skin on)
5 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
3 bay leaves
5 tbs olive oil
6 oz soft cheese (mozzarella, etc.)
2 onions (thinly sliced) + 3 tbs olive oil + 1 tsp sherry vinegar (optional)
Sea salt
Ground pepper

  1. In a stockpot, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
    • Note: You can use a fork to pick through the potatoes to check if they are tender enough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 390F (with fan on).
  3. When the potatoes are cool, smash them lightly with a spoon or your fist (if you are brave).
  4. On a large oven-proof skillet, pour 5 tbs olive oil with crushed garlic cloves and bay leaves.
  5. Add potatoes and gently stir to make sure they are coated with olive oil.
  6. Season with sea salt and ground pepper.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Optional: for the caramelized onion:
    • Heat 3 tbs olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
    • Add onion slices and season with salt and pepper.
    • Cook until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
    • Increase the heat to high, and let the onion caramelize and turn golden brown.
    • Add 1 tsp of sherry vinegar.
  9. Remove the potatoes from the oven.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
  11. Scatter the caramelized onion if using.
  12. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melt.