Crispy Roast Potatoes

Serves: 4

Truth is, I am not that enamoured by roast potatoes.

Which puts me in the minority because so often I hear from people just how much they love roast potatoes: also, that they are a treat?

It could be because I had them so often at boarding school, though what is amazing about a dry piece of roasted potato?

Mash with cream and Parmesan. Of course.

Colcannon. Most definitely.

Hasselbacks. Any day.

So there we are a few months back and Nat proposes a Sunday night roast. With roast potatoes.

“Sounds great” I gulp. “Can’t wait.”

Though Nat being Nat, she does her research. Plain old boarding school roast potatoes these will not be.

If you’re into your cooking, you have possibly come across the website Serious Eats. It’s a great site and a great service, where they take different recipes, pull them apart and rebuild them – using science – to create the very best version of that recipe.

It’s very cool.

And so here is… as they put it… “The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe”.

And to their credit and Nat’s, these are the best I have ever eaten.

Cook them and tell me they’re not.

(The recipe specifically asks for two types of American potatoes that we cannot get in Australia. Through reading etc, the potatoes to use here in Australia are Dutch Cream, Desiree, Coliban or Sebago.)

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2kg potato (see note above), peeled and cut into large, 5cm chunks
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or duck fat
Small handful picked rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful fresh Italian parsley leaves, minced

Method

  1. Adjust the oven rack to be centred and heat oven to 230c.
  2. Heat 2 litres of water in a large pot over a high heat until boiling. Add 2 tbsp salt, baking soda and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil and then simmer until knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk: about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.
  3. Combine the olive oil (or duck fat) with rosemary, garlic and a few grinds of pepper in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden: about 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed “potato-like” paste has built up on the chunks.
  6. Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release and stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes.
  7. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking: around 30 – 40 minutes.
  8. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add the garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coast and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Thomas Keller’s “Yabba Dabba Do”

Serves: 2 – 3

Yabba Dabba Do: Roasted Rib Steak with Golden Chanterelles, Pommes Anna and Bordelaise Sauce

For me at least, nothing beats a beautiful piece of standing rib steak and some amazing potatoes.

It’s almost a primal thing.

This Thomas Keller dish – one I have cooked a few times – is just wonderful and turns any Saturday or Sunday lunch into a long afternoon of wine, laughter and smiles. You just know something magic is going to happen when someone serves you an enormous standing rib!

A few points before you start:

  • The recipe asks for veal stock. I know I should invest the time and make a veal stock, though I so rarely use it. You will struggle to find veal stock so try and find veal glaze or veal jus and add a little bit and then water until you get the flavour of stock.
  • The recipe asks for Yukon Gold potatoes. A fruit-and-veg friend of Nat’s (I am serious) told her that this variety of potato is uncommon in Australia and to substitute… white potatoes.
  • The recipe asks for Chanterelle Mushrooms. Not only are these apparently the most expensive mushroom you can buy (not withstanding truffles), you can’t buy them. Well, you can’t buy them easily in Australia. We used portobellos and they were fine. It is after all the beef, potatoes and the sauce you came for.

Ingredients

Cote de Boeuf (Beef Rib)

1 double-cut rib steak (about 1kg or so)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Canola oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Bordelaise Sauce

1 cup red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon
1/3 cup sliced shallots (French onions)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
10 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp sliced garlic
6 black peppercorns
1 cup Veal Stock

Pommes Anna

10 pitted prunes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tbsp minced shallots (French onions)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes
6 tablespoons Clarified Butter (we used ghee)

Chanterelle Mushrooms

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 generous cup chanterelle mushrooms, washed, stems peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Thyme sprigs
A green vegetable: we did broccolini sautéed with garlic

Method

  1. Sprinkle all sides of the beef liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 day to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. One hour before cooking, remove the beef from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature.

For the Bordelaise Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine, vegetables, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and garlic to a simmer and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the peppercorns and veal stock and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the stock is reduced to a sauce consistency (abut 1/2 cup).
  2. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan.

For the Pommes Anna

  1. Place the prunes and chicken stock in a small saucepan; the prunes should just be covered with liquid.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the prunes are very soft. Remove the prunes to a chopping board and finely chop them. Add the shallots and salt to taste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  4. Peel the potatoes and trim into cylinders that are 5cm in diameter. Using a mandoline, cut the potatoes into 1mm slices and place the slices in a bowl of cold water for a minute to remove some of the starch. Drain and dry on paper towel.
  5. Put 2 tbsp of the clarified butter in a 20cm ovenproof non-stick skillet. Place a slice of potato in the center of the pan; lay more potato slices around the edge of the pan, overlapping them by half, until you have completely circled the pan. Continue with another overlapping circle inside the first. When the entire pan is circled by potato, season and repeat again with another layer of circled potato.
  6. Spread half the prune mixture over the potatoes leaving a 2cm border at the edges. Make 2 more circled layers of potato, spread the remaining prune mixture and then 2 more circled layers of potato.
  7. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup clarified butter over the potatoes and place the skillet over a medium-low heat.
  8. Once the butter begins to bubble, cook for 3 – 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure the potatoes are not sticking.
  9. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until the potatoes are well browned and crisp.
  10. When ready to serve, invert the pan onto a board and cut into wedges.

For the steak

  1. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, pat the steak dry and wrap the bones in aluminium foil to prevent from burning.
  2. Heat the 3 tbsp of the canola oil in a heavy ovenproof pan over a high heat. Add the steak and sear it for 4 to 5 minutes to until it is dark brown and crusty on the bottom. Flip the steak and brown the second side for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Pour off most of the oil and add the butter to the pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 5 minutes. Baste the meat with the butter and pan juices, turn the steak over, sprinkle with salt and continue to cook, basting every 5 minutes for about 20 – 25 minute or until a thermometer reads 40c.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

For the Chanterelle Mushrooms

  1. Heat the butter in a skillet over a medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms, season and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and any liquid has evaporated.

To complete

  1. Rewarm the sauce over a low heat.
  2. Remove the string from the steak and cut the meat against the grain into 1 – 2cm slices.
  3. Plate the steak on a plate, arrange the mushrooms over the steak, spoon over some of the sauce and garnish with thyme sprigs and the mushroom at the side.

Roast Salmon, Bean and Potato Salad

Serves: 4

Salmon, green beans and potatoes pair beautifully and this classic and particularly simple Jamie Oliver number is yet another great example of why.

And it is even better cold the next day for lunch.

Pencil this in for next Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night.

(Note: I have changed the name of the original recipe – it was just a bit too ‘Jamie’ – as well as adapting the ingredients and method slightly.)

Ingredients

4 x 200gm salmon fillets
Extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced and zested
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 clove of garlic, crushed
250ml fat-free natural yoghurt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
450gm baby potatoes, boiled, quartered and let to cool slightly
250gm green beans, cooked and left to cool slightly
1 bunch watercress
1 sprig fresh mint
1 sprig fresh basil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. Rub the salmon pieces with a little oil, lemon juice and zest (saving some for the dressings), salt and pepper. Place them on a piece of baking paper and bake on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the crushed garlic and the yoghurt and season with salt and pepper, a little lemon juice and the cayenne pepper.
  4. Dress the potatoes and green beans in a little salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Toss together with the watercress and herbs and divide among four bowls.
  5. Break the cooked salmon up and place on the dressed beans and potatoes. Serve with a spoonful of the yoghurt on-top.

Patate al forno (Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes)

Patate al forno (Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes)

Serves: 4 – 6

I love potatoes pretty much any way you can serve them and potato gratin is one of my favourites.

With a good steak and some bearnaise sauce, you’ve won me.

I also love any new way to do potatoes, especially one that doesn’t require the butter (and cream) that a good gratin demands.

These Italian oven roasted potatoes are just the answer.

You get almost the same effect less the calories.

As a side to a braise or even a robust fish, these are just wonderful.

Ingredients

6 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced (plus 1 additional clove, halved)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves separated (plus 1 to garnish)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c.
  2. Rinse and dry the potato slices and mix in a large bowl with a generous splash or two of the olive oil, salt and pepper, rosemary leaves and garlic.
  3. Take a large baking dish and rub the insides all over with the two garlic cloves halves.
  4. Arrange the potato slices evenly in the dish, overlapping slightly and building row upon row. Add enough water to come up to about half the height of the potatoes, being careful not to displace the dressing. Drizzle a little more olive oil and season again with the salt and pepper. Place the additional rosemary sprig on top.
  5. Roast the potatoes for about 45 – 60 minutes, until the water has evaporated, the potatoes are soft and golden on top. Remove the rosemary sprig and serve.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

I’ve said it before, though nobody can not like potato salad. Right?

And this quite simple, German Potato Salad is no different. No frills, sure, though simple is its key and ‘potato salad’ is its clincher.

With some grilled pork chops and a glass of chilled red, seriously?

You don’t need much more complex than this.

Ingredients

3 cups, peeled, diced potatoes
4 slices bacon
1 small red onion, diced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives

Method

  1. Boil the potatoes until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. In a pan over a medium heat, cool the bacon until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and crumble.
  3. Add the onion to the pan that had the bacon and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to the boil and then add the potatoes and parsley.
  4. Add the crumbled bacon and serve either warm or cold.

Potato Pallya

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Potato Pallya, about to be folded into a dosai!

Potato Pallya

Serves: 4 – 8 dosai

Lordy, this is a seriously fine dosai filling.

In fact, it is as good as I have had at any restaurant.

The trick is to ensure that the final product is not too oily. If anything is going to kill the delicate shell of your dosai, it is oil.

Otherwise, be as adventurous with the spices as you want with this recipe. Make it sing with flavour, smoke, spice and flavour. And don’t worry that the lentils will be crunchy… that is half the fun.

Boom!

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tbsp split chickpea lentils
½ tbsp split black lentils
1 – 2 dry chillis, torn
¼ tsp Asafoetida powder*
¼ turmeric powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Half an onion, sliced
Salt to taste
250gm potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
¼ bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the black mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
  2. Add both the lentils and cook on a medium heat, stirring constantly until the lentils turn a light golden in colour.
  3. Add the chillis and the asafoetida powder and cook for a few moments.
  4. Add the turmeric and the curry leaves and cook for a few moments.
  5. Add the onions and salt and cook until the onions turn translucent. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  6. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes, checking the seasoning.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  8. Use as the filling of a dosai. Or just eat it because it is seriously that good!

* I know, I had only heard of this once and I didn’t know what it was. Like turmeric which is really only used to enhance colour (and flavour), so too is Asafoetida powder. Though more so to reduce flatulence as far as I can tell. If you can get it, awesome, if not, not to worry.

Hasselback Potatoes with Sage

Hasselback Potatoes with Sage 

How good are Hasselback Potatoes?

The addition of sage makes them even better.

Ingredients

16 small/medium white potatoes
½ cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
32 fresh sage leaves
Flakey sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. If you know your Hasselback, prepare as normal, brush with butter and slip 2 sage leaves into each potato. Season with salt.
  3. If you don’t know your Hasselback, peel the potatoes. Place in a medium-depth cooking spoon and slice down thinly, ensuring you do not cut the entire way. You want to create a fan:

    CUtting-Hasselback-Potatoes.jpeg

    Brush with butter, slip in 2 sage leaves into 2 fans of potato and season with salt.

  4. Roast the potatoes, brushing occasionally with (more) butter until fork-tender, golden brown and tender. 30 minutes or so.

Credit for the fine illustration where illustration credit is due: http://glamorousglutton.com/hasselback-potatoes-stuffed-bacon/

Ross O’Meara’s Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

Serves: 8+

My mother cooked this last night and what a great dish!

Of course, half the genius is the 6 hour cooking time of the wonderful pork shoulder though the other half is the simple, set-and-forget nature of the dish.

It takes only a little prep time and the afternoon is yours again.

We had this with sautéed Brussel sprouts, poached baby turnips and roasted baby carrots and apple sauce… and the incredible potatoes that have been cooking alongside the moorish pork. (After cooking, I removed the skin/crackling and gave it a good whack under the grill to really finish it off!)

Winter is almost here. Get yourself some pork shoulder and get into this!

3kg pork shoulder, bone out, skin on
Olive oil and salt for cooking
1kg waxy potatoes
3 French shallots, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 anchovy fillets
1 handful chives, chopped
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
100ml chicken stock

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150c (or 130c if it is fan-forced).
  2. Take the pork shoulder, dry it with paper towel and then rub with the olive oil and salt.
  3. Wash the potatoes and then slice into pieces around ¾ cm thick.
  4. Get a large, deep roasting dish and add the sliced potatoes, shallots, garlic, anchovies and herbs. Mix each of the ingredients up, ensuring they are evenly spread.
  5. Add the stock and place the pork, skin side up on-top. Cook in the oven for 6 hours.
  6. Periodically check the pork to ensure it isn’t cooking too quickly and if it is, cover with foil.

Spicy Lebanese potatoes (batata harra)

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Get over it and eat more potatoes.

 Serves: 4 – 6

There is something great about having a repertoire of potato dishes. Because people inherently like people who cook good potatoes, especially when they can do more than mash and baked potatoes.

These potatoes are awesome and would go well with so many things; steak, chicken or maybe some marinated and grilled pork. We had them with some really great Middle Eastern Beef and Parsley kebabs.

We substituted sweet paprika for the cayenne so that the boys would eat them and they were still delicious. And the boys hoovered them up.

Ingredients

1kg white potatoes, cubed 2cm
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ c finely chopped coriander
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and the salt. Divide potatoes among 2 baking paper-lined oven trays and roast for 40 minutes or golden.
  3. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat; add the extra virgin olive oil, garlic and coriander and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the garlic changes colour. Add the lemon juice and the hot potatoes to the pan and toss to coat. Season to taste and sprinkle with the cayenne pepper.

Champ

Serves: 4 – 6 as a side to a stew

Champ is as good as it is unknown in Australia; Ireland’s take on mash potatoes.

You can happily substitute spring onions for red onions or (French) shallots as I often do.

Or become a real champ warrior by adding bacon and ham.

Ingredients

100gm spring onions, sliced thinly
150ml milk
100gm butter
1kg potatoes
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Make your mash potatoes as you normally would; plenty of butter and seasoning. If you have a ricer, use that you get perfectly smooth mash, if not, buy one.
  2. Stir through the spring onions.
  3. Try not to keep sampling to check the seasoning for the 20 minutes that your braise is finishing off!