This time i overdid it slightly.. but still the offering was well received. ;-)
A simpler way of cooking potatoes that I think results in captivating outcome. It takes time and a modicum of attention, but no stock (whose flavour can be a distraction, to my mind). EXCELLENT!
To serve 4 or 5 people
- a fairly heavy frying pan (25 cm dia?) with a lid; it must be deep enough that your potatoes have headroom to stand up in. It will probably hold 15 or 16 potato pieces, depending on their girth.
- two tablespoons of butter (may be clarified, if you have it).
- salt and pepper.
- You want to approximate potato cylinders, but don’t bother turning them on a lathe: If you start with medium-sized yellow-fleshed farmers’ market potatoes, peel them and cut off enough at each end that they’ll stand up in the pan and present a nice surface for browning. If you have those elongated “Idaho” russets, do the same but also cut them in half crosswise if they’re really big, getting two barrel-shaped pieces per potato.
- Rinse them and dry them thoroughly.
- Over medium-low heat, melt two tablespoons of butter (you can use clarified butter, but you’re going to be very careful not to let anything burn, aren’t you?) and add the potatoes, flat surface down.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- After a minute or so, turn the heat down to very low and cover.
- For 40 minutes, baste occasionally with fat from the pan. Under the lid, the potatoes steam and brown at the same time, getting nice and buttery.
- Turn them, season Side Two and let them go for another 40 minutes. If they seem to be sticking, use a thin-bladed implement to get under them — if you just yank them with a pair of tongs you’ll leave the crust in the pan.
- After an hour and 20 minutes, they may be very tender; if they’re not, keep going until they are — it could take another 15 minutes on each side if you keep the heat as low as you should. They should be golden on both flat surfaces. Over ultra-low heat, they can sit on the stove for a while if your timing and the potatoes’ don’t coincide.
- The face-up surface will no longer be crisp; remove the lid, turn them one more time and give the softened side a couple of minutes over slightly raised heat. These should not be outright crunchy, more crackling crisp. The crispness won’t last, but that doesn’t matter, because they’re the best thing in the world.