Pan-fried potatoes with kumquat-orange-basil glaze


It’s well past kumquat season here, but I’ve been saving a few lonely specimens in my fridge for a rainy sunny day. The problem is that unlike fine wine, fresh fruit doesn’t always cooperate when you try to “save” it. As far as these kumquats and I were concerned, the time was now or never.

I’d been planning to turn the winter’s last kumquats into a citrusy glaze to serve atop golden brown potatoes, and that’s just what I did. The recipe in my mind came out quite well when tried with actual food.

I wanted to add an herb in order to add another element of flavor, and after much deliberation and tasting, I decided that basil was the best fit. I happen to have a nice Thai basil plant on my patio, which has more of a licorice flavor than regular sweet basil, and went very well with the citrus. Regular basil would also be fine, though (I tried it both ways).

This dish came out quite attractive — the potatoes looked very nice when coated with the vibrant orange glaze and topped with the green basil strips. You could serve it as a side dish or as an appetizer, and let everyone pick at it with toothpicks.

If you, unlike me, haven’t been saving kumquats far longer than recommended, you could substitute orange zest. This wouldn’t be kumquat glaze anymore, and it’d have a slightly different flavor, but it probably would be good nonetheless.

I prepared the potatoes as you would for patatas bravas, pan-frying them in a small amount of olive oil on a low flame until golden and crunchy.

For 2-3 servings:

1 1/2 cup orange juice (the juice of 2 oranges)
8 kumquats (or the zest of the above 2 oranges)
4-5 fresh basil leaves
8 teaspoons sugar

2 large potatoes

Start with the potatoes: Dice into cubes, put into a frying pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and fry on a low flame, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft and as golden as you want them to be. The key here is patience.

For the glaze: Cut the kumquats into slivers, removing any seeds (or zest the oranges). Put the juice, kumquats/zest and sugar in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Let the sauce reduce until it’s glossy and thickened.

To serve, drizzle the potatoes with the citrus glaze and top with thin strips of basil. You can add some more basil sprigs for garnish.

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