I love potatoes. They are the workhorse of any great kitchen. Delicious on their own, they’re always a warm and generous addition to soups, stews and curries. Quietly elegant, endlessly versatile, potatoes possess all the most desired traits of an ideal dinner guest.
You would be hard-pressed to get bored with a pantry stocked with potatoes. Here are a few options: Shredded and pan-fried, sliced thin and fried (hello, kettle chips!), roasted, boiled, mashed, smashed, baked, twice-baked, triple-fried. Perhaps my favorite aspect of working with potatoes is their ability to naturally thicken soup, omitting the need for copious amounts of cream or butter. Watching a chunky mess of vegetables and potatoes floating in water transform into a smooth, velvety elixir as the VitaMix whirs feels almost mystical.
Here are two of my favorite iterations of potatoes: roasted potatoes with herbs and garlic and a delicious green soup.
Note: if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve over-seasoned a pot of soup (or anything else liquid-based for that matter), add a peeled potato and it will soak up the extraneous salt. In that vein, when you cook with potatoes, keep in mind they are quite dense and require a heavy hand in seasoning. I boil them in salted water that tastes like the sea.
Roast potatoes with sage, rosemary and garlic
- 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1/2 head of garlic cloves, crushed with the skin on
- Handful of sage
- Handful of rosemary
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Blanch the potatoes in water that’s heavily salted (it should taste like the sea) for about five minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander then put them back in the hot pot to dry completely for a few moments.
Toss the potatoes (with gusto!) in a large bowl with the crushed garlic cloves, rosemary, sage, and lot’s of olive oil. You should see starch clinging to the potatoes and the sides of the bowl as you’re tossing. This helps the potatoes get crispy — a very important step.
Lay the potatoes in a single layer on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Use two trays if necessary.
Cook the potatoes to tender and crispy, about 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 425 for the last five or 10 minutes of cooking for a nice brown crust.
Deliciously healthy green soup
- 4 leeks, white and light green part only, sliced on an angle
- 2 medium potatoes, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
- 2 bunches parsley, leaves only (save the stems for stock or chop them very fine to add to potato salad, rice or grain salad — the stems have lot’s of parsley flavor!)
- 3 fresh bay leaves
Boil a pot of water. Season it with salt and blanch the parsley for 30 seconds. Drain the parsley and immediately transfer it into ice water (this preserves the bright green color). Once cooled, squeeze the parsley to remove most of the liquid and set it aside.
Meanwhile, sweat the leeks over medium heat in two tablespoons each of olive oil and butter. Don’t brown the leeks — if you see color start to develop before the leeks are softened, turn the heat down. Add the thyme and the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the sliced potatoes and the bay leaves. Cover with cold water. Boil, then turn the heat down to simmer until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife. Remove the bay leaves.
Using a Vitamix, an immersion blender, or a blender, blend the soup base with the blanched parsley to smooth. Season with salt and serve with a drizzle of flavorful olive oil.
You can also serve this soup chilled, which is especially delicious during hot summer months. Make an ice bath (one smaller bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice and water) and chill the soup in an ice bath until it’s cold before transferring it to the fridge. Using an ice bath will help preserve the bright green color.