Last night I dined Grace, the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year in Chicago. It was an incredible high-level meal of finesse and balance. Chef Duffy prepares for guests clean flavors with minimal fats and dairy, just as he would for himself. This dish is the antithesis of last night and Chef Duffy's ideals. If you wake up feeling good in the morning, don't make this dish. If you wake up with a hangover, e-mail this to a friend and have them make it for you.
The idea of making a potato carbonara came to me the first time I made spaghetti alla carbonara. It's a soul satisfying combination of cheese, bacon, and egg -- all of which play wonderfully with the humble potato. Unfortunately, there's a lot of awful carbonara out there, despite its simplicity.
The trick to making a simple dish really good, is to use really good ingredients. If you have the finest Idahoan, a wonderful slab of guanciale, the freshest of farm eggs, and then add pre-shredded parmesan cheese from a green cylinder, your dish can't do any better than 75%, a 'C.' A 'C' as in, your guests will be left wondering what the dish Could have been. Similarly, a poor substitution not only brings zero points, but can take away from the dish. So if you have the finest Idahoan, the freshest of farm eggs, the most exquisitely aged, salty parmesan, and then substitute tofu or turkey bacon for the protein, the dish sinks to 50%, an 'F.' An 'F' as in, you Fucked up.
The first step is to prepare the sauce. Create lardons out of a couple ounces of bacon in a couple tablespoons of butter. Remove the bacon from the pan, and leave on a paper towel to drain. Use the pan drippings to make garlic chips, from 1 large or 2 small cloves. I like to tilt the pan during this process, as a way to do a mock shallow fry of the chips. Don't brown them too much, or you'll get a 'B.' A 'B' as in, really Bitter. Put the garlic chips aside on a paper towel.
Next, dice some fingerling potatoes into coins, and place as many as you can flat-side down in the pan, which is now home to some amazing garlicky butter-bacon drippings. Put this in a 400 Dg oven, for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are properly browned. Flip them over, and put in for another 20 minutes, or until you deem them done.
Toss the hot potatoes with pepper, the bacon, garlic chips, a beaten egg, and 1/4 cup [sum] of Parmesan and romano cheeses. Mix in another 1/4 [sum] of the cheeses (mixing too much cheese at once can yield undesirable results). If you're a lush for lactose, finish the dish with another snowfall of Parmesan.
Other Stash Notes:
The recommended beverage pairing is determined by when the dish is served. If you're making this in the morning to aid a dehydrated loved one in bed, pair it with an extra pulpy screwdriver. If it's really late at night, pair with a pickleback, since you'll probably already have one handy anyway.
If you're a vegetarian, omit the pork and garlic chips, and finish the dish with shaved truffle at the end. Since the dish won't be a carbonara anymore, you'll have to rename it 'A Big Plate of Happiness.'