Monday, November 30, 2009

garlic, lemon, potatoes Oh My!

This is another dish inspired by Cooks Illustrated. As usual, I have taken a couple of liberties - but only out of necessity! The original as published is very good. There are a couple of technique keys that are worth pointing out here. The first is that the potatoes should be in even wedges. Not even in size = not even in cooking. The second is that the flavor enhancers (garlic, oregano, lemon juice) are all powerful but quite transient. Add them late in the process - i.e. when the recipe says so, and not before.
It is a bit irritating to make these because the potatoes do have to be in a single layer in a large skillet (typically 12") and not everyone has one handy. I used 2 10" skillets for this - one non-stick and one not. Not a lot of difference between them, but the caramelization on the untreated pan was slightly better.

You want to use potatoes that are not mealy (e.g. russets) and not waxy (e.g. reds). I use Yukon Golds but Maris Piper would be fantastic.

2T canola oil (1T per pan)
2T unsalted butter (1T per pan)
3lbs medium sized yukon gold or other intermediate potatoes. Peeled and cut lengthwise into wedges. Typically 8 wedges per potato. I cut the largest into 8 wedges and then look at the size of the others before deciding how many wedges per potato.
6 cloves of garlic pressed through a press. (1/2 of the pressed garlic per pan)
2T Extra Virgin Olive oil (1T per pan)
3T lemon juice + grated zest of 2 lemons (divided between the pans)
4T minced fresh oregano (can use marjoram if that's what you have - but always ensure it is fresh)
4T minced fresh parsley
Salt/pepper as needed

This method is per pan. So if you are using 2 pans (like I did) then do them simultaneously.
Heat vegetable oil and butter until foaming dies down. Add potato wedges in a single layer keeping heat at medium. Don't let the oil smoke, but do keep the sizzling going. They should be a deep golden brown after 5 or 6 minutes. Don't peek until at least 4 minutes have gone by. Turn the potatoes and cook on the other side until that side is golden brown.
Cover the potatoes tightly and turn the heat down to allow the potatoes to cook through.
Make up the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and organo into a small bowl. When the potatoes are cooked (6-9 minutes from when they were covered), add the lemn/garlic/organo mixture, stirring to prevent burning. Stir gently fo as not to break the potatoes. Cook uncovered for a couple of minutes. Serve in a warmed bowl, garnished with the parsley.

Madame's comment: "More Please."

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