Friday, January 9, 2009

Roasted Potatoes 1

The wonderfully scenic land was mostly potato fields. the picture is my father in Littleton Maine. This was potato land full of Irish long before Idaho became famous.

This is an easy potato dish except the cutting process. Lots of Butter. I am of Southern Italian stock. I do not understand my obsession with Butter. Perhaps is is all those years being obsessed with bread, as we all are in my family. The butter certainly got slathered on all that bread, and we did not have the habit of dipping bread in olive oil. Perhaps my father's Canadian genes(nature) are too powerful to overcome nurture.
Of course, as stated elsewhere, potatoes are not a big part of the southern Italian diet. That was the influence of Aroostook county.
Anyway, this is a wonderful and impressive dish to serve with plain meats. It is my consolation for not being able to make the oven browned potatoes that were so wonderful whenever my mother made a roast. I feel so inadequate! I will try to describe those elsewhere.
The cutting process may be hard to carry off, but the recipe is very simple.

Use smallish baking potatoes. Growing up, there was little distinction, and we might use any potato variety that was available.

Peel as many potatoes as you need, keeping in mind that these will be a little rich with butter,

Lay the potatoes on the cutting board and allow them to roll and come to a rest where they would naturally sit in the pan.
Slice across the narrow axis of the potato about nine tenths of the way through every 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch apart. You should make every effort to keep them from breaking at the slices. An extremely thin and sharp knife is best.
Arrange the potatoes in an open baking dish. You could also arrange these around a partially cooked roast, but leave room around them.

Salt and pepper them well and drizzle with melted butter to coat. Keep in mind that if you are doing this alongside a roast there may be salt and pepper in sufficient amounts already in the pan juices. Use a brush to help with coverage if necessary.

Place in a 400 degree oven and bake till tender all the way through and the cut edges become very crisp. Baste with butter occasionally and sprinkle with herbs and/or garlic when nearly cooked.
You may have to experiment with the temperature and time for your oven.
These should fan just slightly and basting should reach between all the layers. The finished potatoes should be a dark golden brown and crispy all over the top two thirds at least. If this is in a pan with a roast, you will use some butter, but the basting will be with some of the drippings and fat from the roast.

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