Friday, September 21, 2012

Pan-Fried Rosemary Garlic Potatoes


Perhaps it’s true that many men are essentially meat-and-potatoes people.  As much as my husband Will is open to trying out different and new dishes, he still has a soft spot for the old favorites.  Namely, he loves potatoes of all kinds. 

When I am planning a dinner menu and pondering which vegetable to include, he’ll suggest some type of potato dish.  If I were to decide on sautéed kale and caramelized carrots, he’ll wonder why there isn’t also a potato dish.  He is especially partial to mashed potatoes as his comfort dish.  Garlic, buttermilk and chives, or just very buttery: all are very tasty to him.  He also likes char-grilled potatoes as well as potatoes and red peppers pieces roasted in the oven with lots of olive oil, cracked black pepper, and salt.

Recently though, he has become enamored of another type of potatoes.  I was experimenting with a dish that I could mostly prepare ahead of time, and the result was so appealing—both in the idea and in the taste—that it has become our new go-to potato side-dish when we have guests over.  The crispy exterior with the tender and flaky interior (envision a well-baked potato with crusty edges) and the complementary flavors of garlic and rosemary--along with the complementary fats butter and olive oil--make this a very special dish.

The most attractive part about this dish is that the preparation ahead of time means that I wouldn’t have to mess with the 45-60 minutes necessary to cook potatoes properly during a dinner party.  Besides, it’s distressing to have potatoes get temperamental and decide they won’t cook with their usual timing when the other dishes are on the table and we are all ready to eat.  This dish is 90% ready to go before guests arrive, and I can just spend a leisurely 10 minutes chatting with everyone while I let my potatoes come to a lovely crispy brown.

Here are simple directions with step-by-step photos.

Step 1: about 30 minutes (for water to boil and for potatoes to cook)

You can use Yukon Gold or small red or white potatoes, peeled if the skin is not super-thin.  It’s easiest if you can keep the potatoes whole, but by all means cut them into smaller (similar-sized) pieces if they are too large or if you are short on time.

For smaller potatoes, you would need about 20 minutes of cooking time after you dump them into a large pot of boiling salted water.  Test for doneness, but beware of the fact that flakier potatoes like Yukon Gold might disintegrate if they are cut up and you keep poking them with a fork for doneness.

Once potatoes are fully cooked, drain them in a colander and let them steam to get rid of some moisture.  Cool them fully, either in the colander or on a plate.

Step 2: about 10 minutes (to chop)


Cut up your cooled potatoes into equal sized pieces (about 1-1½ inch is a good size).  Put them in a bowl or on a plate and refrigerate until about 15 minutes before serving time. 


In the meantime, slice up garlic into thin pieces, and chop up fresh rosemary.  Herbs are always “to taste” in my opinion since my ability to consume garlic and basil is quite prodigious, and I find other recipes stint these needlessly.

Step 3: about 15 minutes (to pan-fry)


About 15 minutes before you are about to sit down to eat, heat up a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat.  Make sure that the pan is large enough that you can spread out your potatoes in a single layer with enough space in between so that they can fry properly.  Add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and let melt together until the mixture starts sizzling a bit. 


Place cooled and cut up potato pieces and start frying, making sure that they stay put for at least a couple of minutes at a time so that the pieces can start developing brown edges.  When they are lightly brown, salt and pepper the potatoes and add garlic slivers and chopped rosemary.  You shouldn’t add the garlic too early since you don’t want them to get burnt and bitter over the relatively high heat that the potatoes require.


When the potato pieces have most of the cut edges browned, you can take them off the heat and place in a serving bowl.  Eat while crispy and hot.



No comments:

Post a Comment