June 23, 2021

Cooking with Toby:

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This archived article was written by: Toby Foster

I am not sure how many of you are able to tell, but my cooking style takes a lot of influence from Mediterranean cultures. My plan for this article was to use it as a chance to showcase some of the delicious styles that have been created by this, but I thought it through and decided to talk about it and some ways to modify this recipe to use some of the different cultural styles.
Whenever you examine the cooking style of a region, many factors are involved. Climate, plants and animals, availability of fuel sources, and trade interactions with surrounding regions. The Mediterranean Sea has always been a major hub for merchants. This makes it easy for a wide variety of ingredients to be used in all of these cultures. I love Mediterranean cooking because rich flavors developed from all of the trading.
With all the intermingling of food, you might think that everyone in the Mediterranean would have identical cuisine, but each region maintains its own unique style because of their climate and agriculture.
I went with loaded potato wedges because of how many things go well with potatoes. I went with a pretty basic version of this too so that it will not be difficult or expensive.
If you want to try a Greek variation, there is actually a Greek seasoning that is sold in stores. You can use this as a base along with salt. The primary cheese in Greece is feta cheese, a seasoned goat cheese, and it works great for a dish like this. In Greek food, lamb is the primary meat used, so a lamb sausage could also work. Artichoke heart would also make for a great topping.
An Italian version would most likely be made with either mozzarella cheese or Alfredo sauce. As far as meats go there are many ways this can work. Italian sausages can be used or pepperoni would be good too. Italian seasoning mixes exist that you can use for this. I think that stewed tomatoes would also make an excellent accent flavor.
I had some fun coming up with an Israeli version of this. Israel is often credited as a place where many forms of cheese were invented. In spite of this fact, I cannot find any cheeses from this region. The closest I could find is unseasoned goat cheese. The seasoning list for this variation is quite long so if you want it feel free to contact me and I will get it to you. As far as meat goes, either ground lamb or beef will work, but both would need to be seasoned.
5 or 6 potatoes ¼ cup vegetable oil 2 tsp crushed rosemary 2 tsp salt 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp black pepper 1 ½ cups cheese 1 cup cut green onions ¾ cup sliced cocktail sausages Ranch dressing Cut potatoes into wedges. Coat in oil and seasonings. Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 for 30 min. Place wedges on a plate and cover with cheese and sausages. Melt the cheese. Top with onions and ranch dressing.

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