King Edward potatoes are in the shops at the moment; they’re my very favourite potato for frying and roasting flavour and texture. Extremely floury, they roast and saute to a beautiful crisp, and they also mash beautifully.
Speck is a smoked, raw ham from northern Italy. It can be eaten raw like prosciutto, but it also cooks to a glassy crispiness like a very superior bacon. It’s usually in the delicatessen section of the supermarket; one small pack is plenty in this dish.
To serve two, you’ll need:
6 King Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 slices Speck
2 tablespoons duck or goose fat
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer the potatoes for ten minutes, until they are soft enough to push a knife through. Melt the fat in a large saute pan, and throw in the potatoes and Speck. Saute over a medium heat for twenty minutes, turning regularly until the potatoes are crusty and brown and the Speck is frizzled and crisp.
Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper away from the heat and serve immediately.
The duck or goose fat is important here. No other fat I’ve tried (it should be noted that Jeffrey Steingarten has a soft spot for horse fat – sadly unavailable in the UK) will result in the friable golden crisp that duck or goose fat gives. If you’ve made your own by roasting a duck and draining the tray, so much the better; the fat will be flavourful and will carry the scent of all the herbs and garlic you cooked the duck with.