Potatoes don’t make me jump out of my seat with excitement. I like them as much as everyone else, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t wake up in the morning thinking that “today, I’m in the mood for potatoes”. When I think of potatoes I usually shrug my shoulders and see them as the bleak starch component on my plate. I never give them much thought. There’s nothing glitzy or fancy about potatoes in their natural state; they’re rarely the focus of a meal unless you’re talking about potato salad. And so far I haven’t come across any potato dish that would constitute a full satisfying meal in itself (if you have, please report); for me, potatoes fall into the side dish category. That’s why they need help or a partner of some sorts to really impress. Perhaps I should just give them some credit.
Sometimes, I do think that you could write volumes if you consider the thousands of varieties of potatoes out there; just their infinite color palette is worth novels. Perhaps someone has already taken care of that (I’d have to check). Bottom line, on their own, potatoes don’t bring much to the party, and most of the time I just wonder how I should cook them and make them shine.
I was contemplating this very question when I stumbled upon David Rocco’s superb Patate al Forno recipe. There are few good potato recipes, and even fewer truly fantastic ones. But this one definitely makes the cut. So, as you’ve been anticipating, potatoes are taking center stage today, and with Thanksgiving around the corner this recipe might make it onto your holiday table; it will surely make it onto mine!
These potatoes are something special. The spectacle of flavors is lip-smacking. To tell you the truth, you couldn’t expect less from a hefty amount of thinly sliced starchy potatoes, showered with fresh, pungent herbs and garlic, and bathed in olive oil. Once out of the oven, they are brown and crispy on the edges where they touched the pan dangerously resembling homemade chips, glossy, golden and tender throughout and speckled with herbs and garlic. And let’s not forget that the heady aromas of rosemary and sage seep into every corner of the house. One last thing about these scrumptious potatoes – I will not wait until Thanksgiving to make them again!
Baked Potatoes with Garlic and Fresh Herbs
Adapted from Patate al Forno by David Rocco
Serves: 4-6 servings
· 2 pounds (1 kg) Yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled, and thinly sliced
· 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
· 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
· 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
· Optional: 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
· 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
· ½ teaspoon black pepper
· ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil
Preheat the oven at 400°F (200°C).
Place the potatoes in a roasting pan. Mix together the herbs and garlic, and sprinkle the mixture on the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and put the roasting pan in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
And since we’re looking at this perfect trio, let me tell you more about this gorgeous, glossy, golden corn coated in butter, flecked with a palm full of fresh parsley (to brighten things up), and drowned in a sea of cream. I know it sounds kind of scary, “drowned in a sea of cream” (and some milk…). I know, I know; it’s not your go to diet meal but it’s creamed corn after all, comfort food at its best, and trust me this one will steal the show. It’s savory and sweet, bright, fresh and pleasantly creamy. And guess what, roasted potatoes, creamed corn and schnitzel belong together. Enjoy!
Adapted from Creamed Corn by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves: 4-6 servings
· 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
· 1 pound frozen corn, thawed
· Salt and pepper
· 1 Tablespoon flour
· ¾ cup heavy cream
· ¼ cup whole milk
· 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add the corn and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Add the milk and parsley and stir well. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.