Cookbooks have a way of gathering in one corner of my office like a herd of dust bunnies. As I was shuffling through them recently, I came upon one that I bought from author Ruth Reichl, when we lunched during her visit in town last year: My Kitchen Year—136 Recipes That Saved My Life.
I’m always drawn to a well-designed cookbook—one that has the right feel, weight, cover, and binding as well as good photos and recipes. Reichl seems to have gotten it right on all counts, which makes her book fun to curl up with in a comfy lounge chair or to prop up on a kitchen counter.
I noticed I had earlier marked a few recipes, so I read them again to see if they still had their initial appeal. The recipe for Crispy Lemony Baby Yukons caught my eye. It’s hard for me to pass up a spud recipe, of any kind, a habit I attribute to my Irish-German heritage.
I notice that NYT food writer Sam Sifton nearly always includes a potato recipe in his weekend cooking review, so I’m not the only blogger with a potato passion. Reichl’s recipe is very similar in technique to a Smashed Potato recipe by Sifton that I wrote about earlier. Ruth’s version differs with the addition of lemon, cheese and garlic.
I had a few new potatoes on hand, so I gave Ruth’s version a try.
Crispy Lemony Potatoes
- 2 lbs. baby Yukons or red potatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Zest of 1 lemon (in thick strips)
- 2 cloves garlic
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Parmesan, for grating
- Parsley for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put the potatoes in a wide-based saucepan, add chicken stock, lemon zest and garlic (the stock may not cover the potatoes fully, that’s OK). Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 8 minutes.
Drain potatoes, picking out the lemon zest and saving it for later.
Oil an oven tray generously. Gently flatten each potato on a chopping board, using the base of a small saucepan.
Place the smashed potatoes on the oven tray, drizzle them with olive oil. Dice the reserved lemon zest and sprinkle it atop potatoes. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp, golden and irresistible.
Sprinkle with sea salt and finely grate Parmesan over the top either before or after cooking in oven. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for extra color.