All those corn centric dishes we concocted last week had me pondering about other super popular sides dishes. Corn is abundant and a versatile starchy veg, and you know what else is? A potato.
I don’t know where the potato isn’t featured! It is a classic side dish and a hefty snacks throughout many cultures. Mashed, dumplings, pancakes, fries, bread–all examples of how versatile that nub is.
I didn’t get to plan too much this weekend as I was up in Connecticut for Grannybear’s octogenarian birthday. I decided to stick to a simple side dish, but cooked three different ways to really understand the nuances of varies cooking methods.
The recipe and ingredients are based on what you need to cook. I did not include measurements because this recipe is really all about your judgement. It can be made for one enjoying a stay in dinner after work or a party, either way this is a good dish to experiment because it will be hard to screw up the flavors. You are just trying to not overcook the potatoes or have them stick to the pan. Pouring too much oil over the potato chunks won’t ruin them, unless the bottom slips from your hands and half the jar spills all over the potatoes. Then that may prove a challenge and alter the taste.
Let’s get started!
First off, the time commitment. This will vary depending on how you want to cook the potatoes and how many you need to prep. Prep time will be anywhere from 10-25 minutes and cook time from 20-60 minutes.
Salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to either: Bake @ 350 degrees, Broil or Roast @ 400 degrees.
- Rinse, dry and “chunk up” your potatoes. I used two varieties of potato, red and golden, and there was no baking difference between the two for this recipe’s purpose.
- Drizzle the olive oil. Depending on how many potatoes you cook will depend on the amount of oil you choose to add (as mentioned above). I like to toss the potatoes and use my judgement when it comes to slathering the fat on.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper for taste. Save some salt for later, so you sprinkle some on the finished product immediately after it pops out of the oven.
Baking potato chunks
60 minutes. This method takes the longest, but the potatoes (skin and all) have a creamy, velvety texture similar to a mashed potato. Even after the dish cools, the potatoes maintain their richness and softness. This is my favorite of the three.
Broiling potato chunks
Broiling will take the shortest amount of time–a whooping 20 minutes. This method almost seems foolproof for achieving that hard crunch on the outside and softness on the inside. Well that is true for about the first ten minutes these come out from under the broiler. As soon as these chunks start to cool down, the crunch fades. It was quite shocking because they still look crunchy. They do have a nice burnt flavor (not overpowering), if you’re into that. These I found to be a little flakier than anticipated. It seems as if the broiler’s heat just pierced through the entire chunk and cooked it totally through not affecting the skin and innards differently.
Roasting potato chunks
Roasting will take about 30 minutes. This method is perfect if craving a hard crunch on the outside and a soft bite on the inside. As you can see from the picture, the potato has a pretty clean break proving that isn’t a mushy mess or a dried, flaky abomination. It sticks together within the crunchy shell to provide a deep contrast of textures. As this dish cools, the roasted potato chunks do keep their crunch. Also, the bottom picture looks like bacon, but it isn’t. That is a glorious chunk perfectly shining with all the oil that seeped into the skin. Roast seems to have kept the oil from seeping into the “meat” of the potato and keeping it cooking the skin to achieve that crunch.
At 15 minutes in, you can see from the pictures below difference in cooking for each method. From right to left is baking, roasting and broiling.
Of course you can add different spices, oils and potatoes (purple, sweet, etc.) to make this your fall comfort side dish.
Excited to see the next dish sprout from this hearty ingredient! Anne, what do you have in store for us?
Ciao for now.