Pan Fried Potatoes W Cheese Rosemary & Sage

5 ounces Fontina or Taleggio cheese
1½ to 2 pounds large, smooth-skinned red potatoes
½ teaspoon peppercorns, or more to taste
6 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1½ teaspoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried)
3 to 4 tablespoons virgin olive oil

Cut the cheese into small cubes and let them warm to room temperature while the rest of the dish is prepared. Wash the potatoes, even off the ends, and slice them lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick. Slice each slab into thirds and each resulting stick into pieces to end up with cubes. Discard the odd-shaped small pieces, which are likely to burn later on.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste and the potatoes, and cook until they are just barely done, about 8 minutes. Pour them into a strainer, rinse them quickly in cool water, and set them on a towel to dry. Grind the peppercorns in a mortar, keeping them coarse. If you’re using dried herbs, smash them with the peppercorns.

Heat the oil in a wide heavy skillet (preferably cast iron). When it’s hot, lower the heat to medium and add the potatoes. Let them sit for several minutes until they begin to form a crust on the bottom; then begin shaking the pan every few minutes so that the potatoes will turn and color on all sides. When they are nicely browned, add the herbs and the pepper. Quickly toss the cubes of cheese among the potatoes and serve right away.

Serves 4 to 6.

From, reprinted from “The Savory Way,” by Deborah Madison, Bantam Books.

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