Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Crispy Potato Roast

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It took me a while to make it, because it seemed a bit involved, but really, it wasn’t. I served it with leftover duck we brought home from a Chinese restaurant, but I imagine this would be good with any meat – after all, potatoes are like the little black dress of dinner and can be dressed up or down to go with anything. I made a half recipe, which was enough for 4 small servings; the recipe below would make enough to serve 6 to 8 as a side. I used the slicer blade on my food processor to slice the potatoes, so that was really effortless and fast; the cooking time is long, though, so that’s really what you have to plan for.

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (or neutral vegetable oil)
coarse salt
½ to 1 tsp. red-pepper flakes (optional; I used Korean pepper, which is milder)
4 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled (smaller diameter potatoes are great, if you can find them)
4 shallots, peeled
8 sprigs fresh thyme
garnishes (optional): bits of goat cheese, crumbles of bacon

Preheat oven to 375 °F. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. With a sharp knife or mandoline (or, really, a food processor if you have one), slice potatoes crosswise very thinly. Figure out what baking dish you’d like to use: the original recipe suggests a 9-inch round baking dish (a deep dish pie pan would fit this bill), though you could go an inch bigger; an oval 1-½ to 2 quart casserole dish might also be pretty. I used a smaller dish, since I was halving the recipe, so I didn’t have much choice, but you could arrange the slices in whatever dish you like, as long as they fit.

Once you’ve picked the dish that seems the best fit for your slices, pour a tablespoon or so of the butter/oil mixture in the bottom and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the oil mixture with a few pinches of coarse salt and red pepper flakes, if using; this will allow you to season both the top and underside of the potatoes. Arrange your potato slices vertically in the dish.

Thinly slice shallots with your mandoline (or knife) and slide shallot slivers between potato wedges, distributing them as evenly as possible. Brush with remaining oil/butter mixture. Generously season your dish with salt; go easier on the red pepper flakes, if using. Bake 1 ¼ hours, then arrange thyme sprigs on top and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisped top, about 35 minutes more. If casserole seems to brown too fast, cover it with foil to slow it down (I did this after 60 minutes). Add any garnishes, if using, and serve immediately.

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