Cheesy Peasant Potatoes

Following the ArtsMemphis culinary series dinner at the James Lee House, I luckily learned a few culinary secrets in the kitchen of Master Chef Jose Gutierrez. Chef Jose, a mentor and friend, is known for his thirty plus years of experience in and influence of the Memphis fine dining scene. I'm a raving fan of his work and his culinary philosophy: "simultaneously feeding the body, the soul, and the intellect."

Chef Jose understands my desire for simplicity on one's plate and palate, hence why my first private cooking lesson revolved around the simple stove-top filet with shallot, mushroom, and to-die-for cheesy peasant potatoes. Minimal ingredients, minimal equipment and time, and maximum quality.

A few tips I took with me (that I'll gladly share with you!):

1. Soak potatoes in water once they're sliced. They'll stay bright white, and the extra starch (that usually makes them stick together) will remove itself.

2. Just because you pour a bunch of oil in the pan doesn't mean you have to eat it. The more oil, the more crispiness; but drain the pan throughout cooking, and you'll be avoiding the unhealthy foundation.

3. Everything needs parsley. Trust Jose.

Oh, and FYI: A sprinkle of cheese completely elevates the following side dish. No need for more than an ounce.

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Makes 2 servings

1 potato, peeled and sliced super thin 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 ounce shredded mozzarella Salt and pepper

1. Heat canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, place sliced potatoes in a small bowl of water to remove extra starch.

2. Add potatoes to pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Do not flip until underside begins to get crispy, approximately 3-4 minutes. Once crispy, flip allow other side to cook evenly.

3. Once potatoes are fully cooked, turn off stove and add mozzarella. Quickly toss potatoes until cheese begins to melt. Add generous sprinkle of parsley and remove from pan. Serve warm.