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You can just see how much I love potatoes. My affinity for the spud shines through on this blog with almost every second post featuring them as the lead. There are a gazillion ways to make potatoes and I plan to try out as many of them as I can.
All this love however, is quite unfavourable to my waistline, but what the hell, you only live once and I’m not going to spend whatever time I have on earth warring with food in my mind. That would be exhausting and quite likely detrimental to my health. Eat everything but in moderation is what I keep telling myself to do. I’d better start taking my own advice and sooner than later.
I made this dish a few days ago in my family home in North Bengal. There you get these lovely potatoes from the hills with a reddish skin. When cooked they have a lovely firmness. My son just loved it. When I made it again after we returned, I got a `Mama, no offence, but I liked that one better’’.
I had made it the same way as that time, but then I realised, the quality of potatoes and the oven type makes a huge difference. The oven there was a small 28-liter one which did not have the option of turning the top heating off. The potatoes, baked uncovered got done in 30 minutes flat and were crispy from the top and soft at the bottom. The one at home is a 35-liter oven and I have to either keep the bottom heating on or the top and it took an hour!
I had a friend over for dinner yesterday and she rated the potatoes a 7. A seven! There was no way I was going to put up a 7 on the blog. It has to be at least a 9! So I made it again today and added more and more. This dish has a subtle flavour and the one word of caution you must heed is that do not under-season it. You may think one teaspoon of salt is a lot but it’s not. There is a lot of potato and it will absorb every bit of it and probably leave some people wanting more. I also added lemon juice to it, giving it a citrusy hit.
This is an adaptable recipe. You can omit the lemon and add bacon and parmesan cheese to it, or you can add onions and other herbs. Here’s my version.
Inspired by this awesome Crispy Potato Roast by Cakes Cottage.
Ingredients (serves 8)
10 medium potatoes (approx 1 kilogram)
8 cloves garlic very finely diced (approx 3 heaped tablespoons)
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped finely (dried will also do but halve the quantity)
1 tsp salt
40 gms butter melted
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
- Peel the potatoes and place them in a bowl of water (room temperature) as each gets done. This ensures they don’t oxidise and go brown while you’re peeling the lot.
- In another small pan add the melted butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon salt and let it sit while you get down to slicing the potatoes.
- Slice the potatoes lengthwise thinly. If you have good knife skills you can use that or you can use a mandoline.
- Brush the bottom and sides of your baking dish with the oil and butter mixture. Spread some of the garlic and rosemary on the bottom too.
- Arrange the potato slices upright or slightly slanted in the baking dish keeping the shape of the potato and stack them till the dish is filled. Sprinkle the remaining salt over the tops of the potatoes and get as much as you can in between the layers too.
- Place the pan containing the butter and olive oil mix on medium heat for about 30 seconds till you get the aroma of the garlic and rosemary. Spoon the mix over the potatoes making sure you cover every one of them and push the garlic and rosemary into the slices as much as possible.
- Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the middle rack of the oven at 200° centigrade for 20-25 minutes with only the bottom heating on. Then remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes with only the top heating on till the top gets crisp. Follow the same foil cover timings if you have an oven which does not have the option to turn the top heating off.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot. There will be leftover lemony butter at the bottom of the pan, you can spoon this over the potatoes on your plate.
Important notes: Keep a check on your oven. All ovens heat differently. The heating time I’ve given is indicative of my oven’s performance. Yours may heat more or less. The important part is to check the texture your potatoes and leave it as long or little as it needs.
Make sure the garlic and the tops of the potatoes don’t burn and ensure you have enough salt in your dish.