Thursday, August 7, 2008

36. Parsley-Leaf Potatoes (p. 568)

The Book calls this recipe a "party trick." The essence of this dish is a simple recipe for basic roasted potatoes. But a clever twist and a few minutes of extra work turns them into something that will impress the pants off the guests at your next dinner party.

The "trick" is a single parsley leaf fused onto each potato half. It doesn't add anything to the flavor of the potatoes (not that they need it, they're buttery and crispy on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside), but the individual leaf is like a little golden seal on each potato. What a neat way to turn a lowly side dish into something really fancy!

I made sure that I selected a bunch of parsley with large, pretty, flat leaves. I washed and dried the parsley, and plucked off the appropriate number of leaves. I also lined them up in little rows and took this picture. That part's not in the recipe. I'm just a little bit obsessive-compulsive, that's all. Then I melted the butter (Six tablespoons! I guess I take back what I said about the Gourmet folks using sensible amounts of butter.) and poured it onto a foil-lined jelly-roll pan.

Working on a couple of potatoes at a time, lest they turn brown from being exposed to air too long, I sliced the potatoes in half, pressed a parsley leaf onto each half and put it cut-side-down onto the buttered pan. I roasted the potatoes for about 45 minutes. As the potatoes cook, the parsley leaves fuse onto the potato halves, so when they're done, and you transfer them to the serving dish, they're just so impressive to look at. And they taste great, too.

The Book calls for eight russets for this recipe to feed eight to twelve. But, we were in the mood for red potatoes, and so I used most of a three-pound bag of baby red potatoes. The result was a bit more labor-intensive than what The Book has in mind (There are 16 potato halves if you do it their way. I had about 40 potato halves my way.) But I was really happy with the result.

Of course, if your in a rush, you can skip the parsley leaves and just use this as a basic go-to roasted potato recipe.

Date Cooked: August 3, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium (Easy without the parsley leaves)
Rating: A


Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Aren't these the most adorable things ever? I have to admit they're in my top ten for good party tricks and I've made them a lot. Sometimes I have a problem with the parsley not sticking, but nobody seems to care because they're so darn cute.

Karen said...

OMG I have to make these!