Thursday, July 26, 2012

of Roasted Potatoes and Basil Chive Sauce

One of the biggest challenges of my life is improving upon the recipes that my sister Jenny gives me. She is a serious student of French cuisine and can literally make the fancy dishes you generally only see in French Restaurants.What is so hilarious about this to me is that Jenny has only really learned about cooking in the past few years. Her Roasted Potatoes are at once crispy on the outside, soft and mushy on the inside, and packed full of fresh flavor. They also reheat in a skillet the next day and taste just as delicious. Naturally, I try to follow the recipes she gives me to a T but I usually get distracted in ways that only I can and things don't turn out quite the same way. These potatoes are simple enough that even I can't screw them up with my additions, subtractions, and other culinary experiments.

The Basil Chive Sauce is actually a dressing recipe that I adapted while I was making a crab salad (which was epic by the way) with my old and much missed roommate Amy. Neither of us are super into Mayo and the recipe called for 1/3 cup of that in addition to the plain yogurt they called for. I decided we would use more garlic, less (no) vinegar, Greek yogurt, and a tablespoon or so of sour cream. I figured that would magically equal up to Mayonnaise despite the fact that I knew it wouldn't. The taste of the dressing that we made was so bright and refreshing and delicious that I knew it would have other uses besides the dressing for that fabulous crab salad. Now I use it for everything from a sweet potato fry dipping sauce to a regular salad dressing. I had actually made the potatoes as a side dish that night and when Amy suggested we dip the potatoes in the left over dressing I needed no further coaxing. The result was phenomenal and so I share them here with you.

Today's Cast of Characters:

For Jenny's potatoes the ingredients could not be any easier. Little red potatoes, some extra virgin olive oil which I totally forgot to put in this haphazard shot, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and rosemary are in the original recipe, but feel free to experiment. She recommends chipotle or cayenne pepper for a little bit of extra zing. I usually make them with red pepper flakes but today I was cooking with my friend Emily, a guest chef who is afraid of flavor (but working through it) so we kept it simple with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. In truth that's all you really need for these potatoes if you plan on using the basil chive sauce. If you want to experiment with spices though, feel free!

As for the basil chive sauce, these ingredients get a little bit more exotic. Plain Greek yogurt, sour cream (not pictured), lemon juice, fresh chives, fresh basil, garlic, salt, and pepper are the more usual ingredients. Then you add in just a splash of fish sauce or 3 anchovies chopped. I don't make it a habit to keep anchovies lying around so I make do with fish sauce. It adds a wonderful salty earthiness to the dressing that would otherwise not be there to balance out the fresh herbs. 

What to Do:

First, preheat your oven to 350. The potatoes take a bit to roast so you want the oven good and ready by the time you are finished with the rest so that you can get a head start on the dish.

The first actual recipe thing to do is wash the potatoes up and chop them into quarters. Some of the potatoes that are extra teeny do not require quarters and should be halved instead. You generally want roughly the same size throughout all your potatoes so that they cook evenly. I struggle with this sometimes and find that when I chop the smallest ones last I have less of an issue.

Next put the potatoes into a bowl and sprinkle in some extra virgin olive oil. Really give those suckers a toss so that they get all evenly coated. Make sure that your potatoes have a nice coating before transferring them to a pan. No need to grease it since the olive oil is included in the recipe.

Sprinkle on your chosen spices and stir on the pan until the potatoes look evenly seasoned. You can go heavy or light depending on your desired flavor preference. I usually start out with about 1/8 tsp of each and eyeball it from there. Pop them in the oven for 50 minutes. You will need to stir them after about a half an hour and then ten minutes after that. This helps with the roasty flavor.

While the potatoes are cooking, get out your food processor and throw in all of the basil chive sauce ingredients. That's the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, chives, basil, garlic, fish sauce, salt and pepper.

Pulse a few times to combine. When the sauce is a green color and there are no clumps of garlic floating about, your sauce is ready to share. It also keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.

After about 50 minutes and two stirs, your potatoes should be roasted perfectly. You can tell they are going to be good when they are fork tender and golden brown. Serve up your potatoes in a bowl with the Basil Chive sauce on the side.

Combine the two after serving on your plate. The result is so delicious you will not be able to resist them. Enjoy!


Roasted Potatoes and Basil Chive Sauce

Jenny's Roasted Potatoes:
1 package Baby Red Potatoes
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Rosemary (optional)

Basil Chive Sauce:
1 6 oz container of Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp Sour Cream
1/2 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh Chives
1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil
1 clove of Garlic
a splash of Fish Sauce or 3 Anchovies chopped
1/8 tsp Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper



Jenny's Roasted Potatoes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Wash the potatoes and chop them into quarters or halves if small.
3. Put them in a bowl and drizzle in some olive oil. Mix to combine until all potatoes are evenly coated.
4. Pour onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Season to taste with spices. If you go too light the potatoes wont taste like much so try to at least see some seasonings on the potatoes.
5. Pop them in the oven and bake for 50 minutes stirring twice. Potatoes are done when they are fork tender and golden brown.

Basil Chive Sauce:
1. Place all ingredients into a food processor.
2. Pulse to combine. The sauce is ready when it is a greenish color and there are no large bits of garlic floating around.
3. Serve as a sauce or dressing. Enjoy!

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