Here’s a Jamie Oliver recipe that I adapted to the North. On my trip to a native community called Webequie, in the far northwest of Ontario, I helped Stratford, Ont., chef/schoolteacher Paul Finkelstein on his quest to make kids better cooks. He brought along students from his own school and invited some of the local students in Webequie to join us for some starter cooking tips.
We focused on simple tips and recipes, so I brought along Cook With Jamie, one of Oliver’s excellent cookbooks; it focuses on some basic but delicious recipes to help get more people in the kitchen and out of the fast-food lineups. It aligns exactly with Finkelstein’s philosophy.
To the many recipes Paul created with the kids, we added one based on an Oliver recipe. There isn’t a large variety of foods available in the Northern Store in Webequie, but there are potatoes, so we adapted Jamie’s “Rosemary-Roasted Cubed Potatoes” recipe to fit the ingredients that we had. Oliver’s recipe calls for rosemary but we made due with mixed dried herbs that we found a jar of in the kitchen cupboard at the six-room motel where we were staying. It also calls for garlic, but we used an onion instead. Once the kids tasted the potatoes, they wondered why you’d buy an expensive bag of the pre-made, frozen, oven variety.
Webequie Roasted Potatoes
-Peel or scrub about 1 lb. of potatoes, and cut into cubes of approximately 2 cm square.
-Finely dice an onion. Toss it, with the potatoes, into a large bowl with a few glugs of olive oil, about a teaspoon of dried herbs and a little salt and pepper. Stir well, enough to coat potatoes.
-Roast on a baking sheet in a 425-degree oven for about 40 minutes. Two or three times during the roasting, remove tray from oven to stir and scrape up potatoes with a spatula. The potatoes are ready when they’re golden and crispy.