CORN AND POTATO HASH
Corn and Potato Hash
Feeding 6 hungry 14 year old boys on Sunday was not an easy task. I threw meat at them, of course, and potatoes, and corn. I suppose it was actually easy, then, for quantity is always simple, provided you have the money and the time. But 14 year olds are not renowned for their forecasting abilities. Thus it was that on Sunday I went late to the Piggery, where I bought knockwurst and ground beef. Fortunately they now carry local produce and had bags of potatoes for $1.50lb. Yes. Then a quick run out to the Early Bird Farm stand for corn. The knockwurst I saved for another night. The ground beef became jumbo hamburgers. They ate everything but left a pile of corn on the cob. So what do you do with six uneaten ears of cooked corn? You make corn hash. It was delicious, and took all of a half hour to cook. It is a single skillet recipe. Improvisation and knife skills help with this, but it’s real simple, as any hash should be. And anything fryable can be a hash.
Make it with what’s on hand. I had a few hot peppers from Jackman Vineyards. 4 fist-sized red potatoes. An onion and garlic, and those 6 ears from corn. While the hash cooked I cooked hot Italian sausage (Autumn Harvest Farm) and the knockwurst, and sliced fresh cucumber from the garden.
The thing here is the potatoes must fit in a single layer in the frying pan to brown. I have a big iron skillet. I don’t how many inches, but it’s the big one. The one that takes up half the stove. And how many potatoes fit all depends on how big the potatoes are and how small the dice is. I didn’t get out the tape measure, but I’m going to say it was a half inch dice. This is small enough for the potatoes to fully cook without adding liquid, but not so small that they moosh. I chose to cook everything together, but you could brown the potatoes, remove them, continue with the dish and add them in at the end. They would remain crispy that way. But they would not absorb the flavors of the onion, garlic, and spices. They would not achieve hashiness: flavors distinct and melded. Both/And. I started out with bacon ends, diced, also from the Piggery (4 bucks for 2/3s of a pound, a GOOD price for all that flavor). These become lardons. But regular old bacon would do, as would ham, or pancetta, or diced smoked sausage. Not only does it taste good, and add bonus bits of fried smoked fat to the hash, the bacon fat crisps up the potatoes better than plain olive oil.
Corn and Potato Hash
1/3 cup diced bacon
2 T olive oil
4 red potatoes, or enough potatoes for 4 people, cut into ½ dice
A good pinch of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill
1 medium onion diced
4-6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 T ground cumin
1 T smoked paprika
Corn cut from 6 ears of cooked corn
2-3 T red wine vinegar
Heat a large iron skillet until hot, then lower the heat and render the fat from the bacon with the olive oil. When it is crisp set aside. Raise heat to medium high and add the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, until they are brown, about 10 minutes. The pan can be crowded, but they have to fit in a single layer to brown. They will not necessarily brown evenly on all sides, especially with a crowded pan, but that’s OK. You want color (golden). Here is a fork in the road: you can remove the potatoes and continue on, or continue on. Add onions, garlic, cumin, paprika and thyme. Stir together and continue cooking, allowing time for the ingredients to brown between flips and stirs. A spatula becomes handy here, as you can scrape up from the bottom of the ban and flip the ingredients. When the onion is cooked (it will smell sweet, and the cumin will be fragrant), add the corn and continue flipping as before, until it colors and heats through. Add the bacon, stir, then add the vinegar to the edge of pan, don’t dump on top. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with sausages and raw fresh cucumber. I think beer would be a terrific accompaniment, but wine of course goes with everything.