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A friend of mine recently called me to tell me that she ate mashed potatoes for dinner. Just mashed potatoes. I teased her for a bit, but as the day went on…I kept dreaming of  potatoes. And when I got home, I melted some butter and got to work. I layered everything in a skillet and baked in the oven until it was crisp and melty. And then I ate potatoes for dinner. Just potatoes.

 …and leeks. And manchego. And garlic. And then I called my friend back and told her I’m a convert.

Crisp Manchego Potatoes
Serves 4 as a side

1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp chopped pancetta
1 bunch leeks, thinly sliced
1 lb baby yukon gold and/or red potatoes, very thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
heaping cup of grated Manchego cheese

1. In a medium skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it is crisp and the fat is rendered. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and reserve.
2. Add the leeks to the pan and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until mostly tender, 7-9 minutes. Add the garlic and pancetta and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more.
3. Season well with salt and pepper, and toss well to combine all the ingredients. Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly across the pan, and top generously with manchego.
4. Transfer the skillet to a 400 degree oven and bake until the potatoes are completely tender and the cheese is melty and golden, 7-10 minutes more. Serve warm.

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