potatoes and meyer lemons
Here at The Ordinary, we have a rigorous exercise routine. It consists of charging up and down the towpath at breakneck speed with Clio for, oh, half a mile (and stopping to say hello to every single dog we meet.) This is followed by a session of jumping up and down with a can of beans in each hand whilst watching dopey TV on the computer. Every once in a while we run up and down the stairs, being careful not to fall. It’s high-impact, low tech, low-stress, and no monthly fees. And there’s nobody there to see but the dog, who lies on the couch watching with her bright eyes, compiling material for her book Humans do the Dumbest Things! We’ve collected all of this into a kit for each of you at home! For a low low price, you can have two cans of beans (or chickpeas!), a video tutorial on how to turn your computer on and find dopey television, a guide to all the dogs you’ll meet on the towpath, by name and temperament, and detailed diagrams on how to execute the complicated jumping up followed by the jumping down. And repeat. To be honest, this is my routine, and being a routinized person, I’m quite addicted to it. This morning I decided to do something different. After a dash on the towpath with Clio, I gathered Malcolm and we set off to shoot some baskets. The morning is icy cold, but the sun was struggling to warm the world. It hadn’t reached the basketball court, but it glowed in pale golden pools in the silvery branches of the sycamores around the court. The moon hung low in the sky, half-full, ghostly and fading. Wispy clouds stretched across as if trying to hold the moon in a box. The spirit of the night lingered in the day, and Malcolm said it felt like summer in winter, even though he was wearing pajamas under his pants, and had a hat on his head and a hat in his hand. Malcolm’s face was rosy and bright, and light collected in his huge luminous eyes. I felt alive! I felt vivid! The sun finally broke through the trees above the basket, and with each shot made sunspots in my vision that cast the whole world in a flash of rosy gold, like an old snapshot, or a polaroid, reminding me that this was a morning that I wanted to capture and keep. It’s good to break out of your routine, sometimes!
So we have meyer lemons and castelvetrano olives, and, as I warned, I intend to use them in every single thing I make until they’re gone. Olive brownies! I like this dish because, like the morning, it’s comforting and wintery, but very bright, too. I peeled the lemons in long slices, and put the rind and some rosemary sprigs under the potatoes. Their flavor spread upward as the potatoes cooked. I liked to eat the cooked lemon peel, which got a little crispy. Others didn’t so we just served the potatoes on top. And that’s how it goes!
Here’s Early One Morning by Elmore James.
5 or 6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup or more castelvetrano olives – pitted and chopped
2 meyer lemons (or one regular lemon and a teaspoon of honey)
2 sprigs rosemary
2 T olive oil (plus a bit for the dish)
sea salt and black pepper
Thinly slice the potatoes – I used my food processor because it’s so darn fun! Put the slices in a big pot of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil two or three minutes. The potatoes should be fairly soft, but not falling apart. Drain well in a strainer or collander.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the lemons in long strips. Pour a little olive oil into a baking dish, roasting dish or brownie pan – mine was about 6 X 12 inches. Spread the strips of lemon peel in a thin layer on the bottom. Top these with the rosemary sprigs. Spread the sliced potatoes over all, in an even layer. (Mine was about one inch deep).
Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a cup, I had about 1/4 cup of juice. Stir in the olive oil, and if you used a regular lemon, add the honey. Pour this mixture over the potatoes, trying to work it between the slices. Sprinkle the olives over, tucking them between slices of potato wherever you can.
Bake for about 50 minutes, shaking gently from time to time, until the top is starting to brown and turn crispy.