You know that creationist theory that the world was all created in benevolence and light in six days? I’m calling bullshit. Not necessarily because I know better, but because I much prefer the idea of living on, essentially, islands of compressed dinosaur bone floating on top of a spherical sea of fire. The best thing about it is that it all happened by accident – chaos, chance and coincidence combined to make us the most badass thing in a badass world.
This recipe’s kind of similar. I was drunk and my only edible possessions were four eggs, a huge potato, a slightly smaller onion, a handful of garlic cloves, yoghurt, a tomato of dubious quality and a chilli. The initial urge, as always after a bottle of wine, was to fry everything until it was darkening and sweet and salty, but I decided this was the time for a man of action to step into the breach and make something a bit special – it had to taste great otherwise there was no way it’d stimulate our gin-numbed tastebuds.
I am slightly downplaying the contents of my cupboard. I did have dukkah, that mysterious dried chickpea/spice concoction which tastes a bit like donuts, and the dukkah is a pretty vital part of making this work.
It’s pretty easy to make your own – just smash together some almonds or dried chickpeas with salt, pepper, cumin seed, coriander seed and sesame seed either in a pestle and mortar or food processor. It shouldn’t be a powder, more like the size of chilli flakes (which are also good in dukkah, actually). There was also a bit of tahini and half a lemon loitering in a dark corner next to the misty jar of liquid that smells like a sock.
I’m aware that 10 garlic cloves seems a lot, but they sweeten and relax quite a bit so it’s not too overwhelming. Anyway, when potato is the main ingredient in a dish it’s pretty necessary to liven it up with a whole lot of strong flavours.
Enough chat, let’s show these potatoes what for.
The Potato Thing
- Potato. Either one big one (mine was about the size of a toddler’s shin) or a few smaller ones. Thinly sliced widthways.
- One tomato, sliced.
- Four eggs. Don’t slice these.
- One onion, sliced.
- Ten garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced.
- One hot chilli, chopped.
- Dukkah, a few pinches.
- 200g ish of natural yoghurt
- A spoonful of tahini
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
Get your oven heated to around 170ºc. Put on a pan of boiling salted water and parboil the potato slices until you can easily put a fork through them. Drain and dry on kitchen towel or a cloth.
Make a layer of potato, using around half the potato slices, in the bottom of an oiled oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. On top of these potatoes, evenly spread the onions, garlic (holding back half a clove) and chilli. Add a splash of olive oil before covering with another layer of potato. On top of this layer, place the slices of tomato. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with dukkah, salt and pepper. Put in to cook for around 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to colour and the tomato has wrinkled and darkened.
Whilst the dish is cooking, make the yoghurt and tahini sauce. Combine the yoghurt, tahini and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add cracked black pepper and the other half clove of garlic. Stir until mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning – you might need a little salt.
When the potatoes are looking pretty much done, remove them from the oven and place on your hob or a heatproof mat. Crack the four eggs over the top of the dish, being careful not to break the yolks. Carefully place the dish back in the oven and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the white is fully cooked but the yolks are still wobbly.
Eat with warm crusty bread and the yoghurt dressing.