Hosting a dinner party? Be inspired by this Allegra McEvedy's meze recipe.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/390ºF. Put the wet potatoes around the edge of a baking tray with the garlic cloves in the middle of the tray, sprinkle with salt and put in the oven. After 20 minutes take out the garlic, turn the oven down to 180ºC/360ºF and bake the potatoes for another 45 minutes or so until the spuds are cooked. Take them out and let them cool.
Peel the potatoes and garlic and warm the oil. Fry the garlic cloves very gently with the thyme for a few minutes. One by one, drop in the potatoes and mash them with a fork, mixing well with all the other ingredients in the pan. When everything is mashed in, season well with salt and finish with a splash more EVOO.
Knock up the crispy shallots by lightly flouring the shallot rings in a sieve and deep-frying for around 7 minutes until dark golden and crunchy.
Lift them onto some kitchen roll to drain and sprinkle with cayenne and salt.
Serve the shallots scattered on the mash and finish with the parsley, a fat piece of lemon and a last slug of EVOO.
For the tomatoes - in a small thick-bottomed pan melt the sugar in 2 tablespoons of water. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of oil, the garlic (whole cloves) and the rest of the thyme. Keep on a medium heat to really infuse, giving the pan the odd swirl for a couple of minutes, then once the garlic and thyme have begun to caramelise a little bit, lay in the tomatoes (washed, and still on the vine), and gently roll them around in the oil before covering with a lid.
After a few minutes the tomatoes will have started to explode, so turn the heat off now and let them sit for a minute, then serve
• Wetting the potatoes helps to crisp up the skin whilst cookingl.
• Use a baking or floury potato so the insides are fluffy. These are white and starchy and do not have a sweet or strong taste to them. Make sure they are firm; their skin should be smooth and free of sprouts
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