Potatoes are one of the most delicious, versatile and beloved roots. They take so many cooking techniques well and go well with so many ingredients. So, for this post, dedicated to potatoes, I am choosing something I love, a little off the beaten path, delicious and packed full of flavor.
Regarding the actual cooking of potatoes, there are a few golden rules to follow: First and most important, potatoes do not like water. Water logged potatoes are devoid of their starch, flavor, and consistency. Removing too starch prohibits the potatoes from absorbing flavors, seasonings and ingredients we want them to. Do not over boil! Once cooked, drain right away! Do not over cook! If you are using a ‘wet’ cooking method, use as little water as possible, try not to boil and do not over cook. Second, incorporating some sort of roasting technique will reduce the amount of salt and additional seasoning needed. Roasting concentrates their natural flavor, usually only requiring a dash of olive oil and sea salt to finish. And last, be very careful choosing the variety of potato for your dish. An Idaho russet potato is not best for mashing (too starchy), but is best for baking. Yukon gold potatoes are not best for baking, but are best for mashing. Okinawa sweet potatoes are great for roasting and purees, but have a very distinct flavor and color, not appropriate for every application.
This recipe incorporates a ‘combination’ cooking technique. We begin with gently simmer the potatoes in water, followed by roasting. It’s easy, has great flavor, is low maintenance, and is hard to get wrong!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 portions
1 lb baby yukon gold potatoes, cut into quarters the long way
3 tbsp lite soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 leeks, white part only, thin sliced and well washed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper
Heat an oven to 350.
In a small, heavy bottom sauce pot, barely cover the potatoes with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until just barely fork tender. Drain well. Return the pot with potatoes to the heat and cook for about 30 seconds to dry the potatoes.
Place the potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add the leeks, sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil, and a liberal amount of kosher salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in oven for approx 1 hour. Let cool slightly and serve right away.