No one takes potatoes as seriously as Txikito’s husband-and-wife co-chefs Eder Montero and Alexandra Raij. Montero’s Basque grandmother used to whip up a little dish called patatas a la importancia, which put the spuds through no less than six cooking treatments before they showed up at the table. In a similar—if less labor-intensive—spirit, Raij has concocted this recipe, below. She recommends Carola potatoes (a German variety available at the Greenmarket’s Paffenroth stand), for their creamy texture and buttery flavor. Adding chicken livers and good grainy mustard makes them that much more important.
Alex Raij’s Patatas a la Importancia
4 chicken livers (or more to taste), quartered
3 lbs. Carola potatoes
Salt to taste
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
1 sprig thyme
1 cup chicken stock
11/2 tbs. grainy mustard
11/2 tbs. sherry vinegar
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
Rinse and dry the chicken livers; put them in the refrigerator uncovered for a couple of hours so that their surface gets as dry as possible before cooking. Preheat oven to 350. (1) Peel potatoes, dice into small cubes, and place in a large bowl. Season with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Add the onion and leaves from sprig of thyme. (2) Place mixture in a roasting pan, add the chicken stock, and cook until potatoes are tender, approximately one hour. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add some olive oil. Season the chicken livers with salt and sear them on both sides in skillet. Transfer the potatoes from the roasting pan to the skillet; stir in the mustard, vinegar, and parsley. (3) Cook for a few minutes, smashing some of the potatoes and the chicken livers. Serves four.