In many ways, a potato is just that — a potato. It’s plain, starchy, simple and unpretentious. It doesn’t pretend to be fancy, require loads of prep work or demand an onslaught of unfamiliar ingredients to make it an edible dish. Potatoes are like the ultimate blank canvas, and it really only takes one or two standout flavors to transform something plain into something special.
I’ve talked before about how Ina Garten is the queen of roast chicken, but I’ve come to realize that her culinary kingdom stretches far beyond the poultry category. Pretty much anything back-to-basics is her domain (hence her back-to-basics tagline), and because potatoes are about as basic as it gets, it’s no surprise that her recipe was a knockout. I watched Ina make these dill fingerling potatoes last weekend while running on the treadmill (yes, I realize Food Network-watching while exercising is weird), and they were so easy peasy, I remembered all the ingredients at the grocery store without even double-checking the recipe. Jared and I are both major fans of fresh dill (I spent the first 16 years of my life proclaiming dill pickles as my favorite food and have only altered that proclamation slightly to sound a bit more like a grown-up), and the potatoes make a great showcase for such a fresh, love-worthy flavor. Ina served her potatoes with roasted fish and broccoli; Jared and I, being arguably less refined than Ina, filled our plates with potatoes and called it a day.
Dill Fingerling Potatoes
From Ina Garten, foodnetwork.com
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 ¼ pounds fingerling potatoes, rinsed but not peeled
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 ½ tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Melt butter in a Dutch oven (or another large pot with a heavy bottom) over low heat. Add the whole potatoes, salt and pepper, and toss well. Cover the pot tightly, and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender when tested with a knife. Shake the pot (without removing the lid) from time to time to prevent potatoes from burning. Once potatoes are just tender when tested with a knife, turn off the heat, and allow them to steam for another 5 minutes. Toss with the dill, and serve hot.
What are your favorite ways to prepare potatoes? Any spices or herbs that you always add to make them a rock star dish? What are you favorite back-to-basics recipes? Let’s hear it!