Category Archives: Potatoes

Bistro Hash Browns

I just love fried potatoes.  Of course, most folks I know, do, too.  I also love it when I discover new ways to enjoy those fried potatoes.

This dish came about while I was staring at a bundle of fresh parsley from my generous friend Karen.  She has a well-established herb garden and regularly shares her harvest.  Lucky me.

I knew I wanted to use this parsley as a highlight to a dish, not just a garnish.  Then I remembered reading about the French technique of flavoring dishes with minced parsley and garlic, called persillade.  So, I consulted with one of my favorite French chefs, Jacques Pepin and found just the thing.

You can basically think of this dish as making hash browns with a simple mixture of minced parsley and garlic that, when added to the hot dish at the end of cooking, serves as a terrific flavor addition.

Pommes Persillade (Potatoes with Parsley and Garlic)
Serves 4

from Jacques Pepin’s Table

2 large potatoes, washed and peeled
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (loosely packed)
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes.

Using a colander, rinse well.

If you are not preparing the dish right away, place the potatoes in a bowl and cover with cold water.  If you leave the potatoes fully submerged, they won’t turn brown.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil.  Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels.

Add the potatoes to the hot oil.  Saute over high heat for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and crisped.

While the potatoes are cooking, chop the garlic and parsley together until finely minced, and set aside.  Congratulations, you just made a persillade.

When the potatoes are done cooking, add the persillade and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve immediately – this is much better served right after cooking so you can appreciate the crispy outside and tender inside.

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Game Day Eats – Bavarian Potato Salad

At the suggestion of my brother, I’ve started a weekly entry of recipes for food and drinks to serve while watching sports.  This marks the second installment.  Stay tuned for more developments.

Most of our gang of friends are sports fans and we often gather together to watch sporting events, even if there are multiple TVs in multiple rooms.  Watching with my friends can make my team’s victory that much sweeter, or make their losses (of which there are too many) a little less sharp.  (Please do not comment on this, Hank.)

Our gatherings always include food and I’m glad to share my recipes.  I hope you’ll be inspired to host your own gameday gatherings whether they are on the couch or at a tailgate party.

Bavarian Potato Salad
Serves plenty

Modified from the Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook

5 lbs Russet potatoes
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp caraway seeds
4 – 5 slices bacon

Scrub the potatoes, place in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to boil over medium high heat.  Boil for about 30 minutes or until you see the skin of the potatoes start to crack.

Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water.  To cool them faster, refill the pot with cold water and leave the potatoes to sit in it for about 5 minutes.

Now peel the potatoes.  The skin should remove easily with your fingers or a sharp knife.  Be careful, the potatoes may still be a bit hot.

Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise.  The slice into 1/4-inch pieces, not chunks – slender slices.

Place the potatoes in a bowl.  Add the sliced onion.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds.

Whisk well and pour over potatoes and onions.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Shortly before serving, fry the bacon until crisp.  Drain well on paper towels.  Once it cools, crumble into small pieces and add to potatoes.  Stir, taste, and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.

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Potatoes Anna

Potatoes Anna or Pommes Anna is a classic French dish.  Simply, it is a mound of sliced potatoes baked in butter.  Yum.  It is one of my brother’s favorites and he regularly requests it.  He and his girlfriend, Kate came over this weekend for dinner.  He made the pork ribs and I made the sides, including these potatoes.  Big thanks to Kate for assisting me in the kitchen.

Potatoes Anna
Serves 6 to 8

3 lbs baking potatoes
5 Tbsps butter, divided
kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

You can decide whether to peel the potatoes or not.  We elected not to this time.  Slice the potatoes evenly to about 1/8-inch.

Melt 2 1/2 Tbsp butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other ovenproof skillet) over medium heat.  The heavy skillet is important because it conducts heat well and will produce a crisp, browned crust.  Melt the remaining 2 1/2 Tbsp of butter in another container.  Set aside because you are going to drizzle it over the potatoes.
Arrange a single layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping, in a circular pattern in the pan, sprinkle with a bit of salt.  Drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp of butter.  Repeat the layers about 5 times, ending with butter.  They may be slightly mounded in the center.
Press down firmly with your hands to pack the potatoes.  You want the potatoes to be dense and compact so that they hold together.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden.
Take a spatula or rounded edge knife and loosen the edges of the potatoes from the sides of the pan.  Place a pan upside down on the top of the pan, invert potatoes onto plate.
Slice into wedges for serving.

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Scalloped Potatoes

These made a perfect side dish for our Lobel’s tenderloin steaks

Scalloped Potatoes
Serves 6

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, with more for baking dish
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9 x 9 baking dish.

In a saucepan, whisk the cream, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and then remove from the heat and let cool in the pan to room temperature.

Arrange about a third of the potatoes in an overlapping layer in the baking dish.  Give the cream mixture a quick whisk and pour about a third of it over the potatoes.

Repeat twice more with the remaining potatoes and cream mixture.  Dot the butter over the top and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with a paring knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and heat the broiler on high.  Uncover the potatoes and gently press them down with a flat spatula so the cream mixture mostly covers them.  Broil until nicely browned on top, 5 to 8 minutes.  Let the potatoes rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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To Market, To Market…

I’ve been jonesing for fresh spring produce, but it is still a bit early here in the DC area. Relief will come soon, though. We are planning a trip down to Texas next week when I’ll get to raid my parents’ garden and eat things that we won’t get here for a few more months. In the meantime, I thought perhaps I could somewhat satisfy my craving by visiting a farmer’s market and seeing what they had on tap.

You can find a farmer’s market in your area by visiting the US Department of Agriculture’s website. http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets/
I decided to investigate a market that I had not yet seen on our side of town. (Yep, even out here on the east side…) Well, it is was rather slim pickings with one farm represented, but they were friendly and they brought some good stuff. It was mainly the tail end of winter vegetable harvest, but I know more is on the way.
Check out some of what I got…
I believe the variety of winter spinach I got is Bloomsdale; it is dark-green and crinkled, not like the pointed, smooth-leafed kind I usually see in bags at the supermarket. I felt it would not keep that long, so I wanted to use it right away.
I sought inspiration from Jacques Pepin, (Shout-out to fellow fan and friend, Andrea!) and decided to make a potato and spinach galette. The word galette denotes a flattish, disk-shaped pancake. It has garlic flavored spinach sandwiched between panfried potatoes. (It reminds me a bit of Potatoes Anna that my brother loves, so I will post that recipe another time in the future.)
I made this galette as a side dish with meatloaf (which I turned into sandwiches this morning with vidalia onion slices, see above), but it is hearty enough to be a main course with a green salad or could be included in a brunch. You want to use a nonstick skillet or omelet pan (make sure they are oven-safe) or a cast-iron skillet as I did.
Here’s the how-to…
Potato and Spinach Galette
1 pound spinach
1 1/2 pounds potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
garlic, to taste (my husband and I usually like more garlic than the average person so I won’t trouble you with our measurements, but you want to start with at least 1 Tbsp)
salt and pepper
If you plan to bake the galette right away, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. I removed the stems from the spinach and threw away any leaves that were wilted. I also needed to thoroughly wash the spinach. The crinkles were pretty sandy.
I washed and peeled the potatoes, then sliced them thinly with my mandolin. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) I washed the slices, drained them, and patted them dry with paper towels.
In the 10-inch skillet, I heated 1 Tbsp of the oil with the butter until hot. I added the potatoes, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Saute over medium high heat until all slices are coated with oil and butter and they are becoming transparent. I kept stirring to move the potatoes, but next time I might put the potato slices into the skillet in two batches. I transferred them to a plate and put them aside so I could use the skillet for the spinach.
Put another tablespoon of oil in the pan, add garlic and quickly add the spinach. The garlic will cook really fast and you don’t want to burn it. I added a little more salt and pepper and sauted until the spinach was wilted. It was not more than 2 minutes. Take it out of the skillet and set aside.
I then turned off the heat, but I didn’t take the skillet off the burner. Add the last tablespoon of oil, and arrange a layer of potato slices across the bottom of the pan. Make two layers of potatoes, using half of the slices. Spread the spinach across the potatoes, and then cover it with the remaining potatoes. You could can prepare the dish up to the point several hours ahead. Just cover the skillet and keep in refrigerator. I wouldn’t recommend making it more than 6 or 8 hours ahead of time, though.
Put the skillet in the 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. With the dark, cast-iron skillet, this wasn’t necessary, but you may want to put the skillet back on the stove top after baking. If you put it on a burner over medium high for 2 or 3 minutes you can ensure the bottom layer is browned.
Once done, invert the galette onto a large plate and cut into wedges. This picture doesn’t really do the dish justice. I promise to work on my picture-taking if you take my word that it looked as good as it tasted, and we enjoyed it.

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Dill – A Sign of Warmer Weather

Dill is my favorite herb. I just love it. I not only like the flavor, but I enjoy its association to me with warm weather. I add fresh dill to many dishes during the spring and summer. The most popular is my potato salad. I’ll make it for Easter with ham and cheddar biscuits. And, I make it for nearly every cookout over the summer.

I already purchased the ingredients for my Easter meal, including the fresh dill, but I need to keep it from wilting between now and Sunday. To help, I wrap it in a damp towel and then place it in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator.
So, here’s my favorite potato salad recipe…
1/4 cup canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (use more or less, depending on your taste)
4 pounds of new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp of chopped fresh dill (more to taste)
2/3 to 1 cup of mayonnaise (to taste)
2 small bunches green onions, chopped
Combine oil and garlic in a bowl; set aside. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender; probably 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl.
Whisk vinegar and next three ingredients into oil mixture. Pour this over warm potatoes, tossing to coat. Cover and chill for about 8 hours.
Combine potato mixture, mayonnaise, and green onions, tossing gently. I sometimes sprinkle in just a bit more chopped dill before serving.
Alterations to the recipe – You can use any fresh or dried herb, that you like. I just happen to be fond of dill. I also change up the potatoes I use, depending on my mood or what is available. My favorite is probably new red potatoes. As the cook, you can also decide whether to peel the potatoes. Folks don’t seem to mind either way.
You can also mix it up by using different varieties of vinegar. Don’t feel limited to just plain white vinegar. If you don’t like green onions, you can try something else to give the salad some color and a bit of texture, like carrots or celery. I don’t like a heavy amount of mayonnaise, but you may, so make it to your taste.
A word of caution: I use whole-fat or low-fat mayonnaise for this salad. I’ve tried it with no-fat and it tasted horrible and didn’t have the consistency that folks crave. If you must cut the fat, I suggest using less low-fat mayo or trying a blend of mayo and sour cream to help improve the texture and flavor.

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