Sunday, February 22, 2009

Best damn potatoes, period!

The first time we made these potatoes, we lived in a tiny place in OB, and a patio on a cliff over the ocean with an old picnic table was our dining room. I know, it didn't suck. Anyway, with some fennel pollen pork loin (recipe someday), we made Roquey potatoes. They didn't suck either. Our neighbors were vegetarians and I wanted to give them a taste, as the potatoes came out great and we usually can't share our food with veggys, being carnys and all. I started to grab the potatoes, and was accosted by the 5 women at the table, yelling that there was no way I was giving any of these away. I know, I thought they were joking too! But nope, they were serious and I knew I risked an ass-whoopin if I didn't behave. Anyway, here's the recipe.

4 to 5 russet or other kind of baking potato
4 to 6 oz. Roquefort (see note)
4 to 6 oz heavy cream
couple tablespoons good bread crumbs
1 tsp fresh minced or 1/2 tsp dry rosemary
couple tablespoons cold butter (the better the better)
soft butter to grease baking dish

Preheat oven to 350. Using a mandoline or chef's knife, slice potatoes into 1/8 to 1/4 inch discs. Doesn't matter as long as you are consistent, so mandoline works best. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the cheese and cream over low heat until incorporated. Meanwhile, grease 13 x 9 glass baking dish with soft butter. Install layer of potato slices, then give them a couple grinds of S&P. Easy on the salt, the cheese is pretty salty. Continue the process until potatoes are gone, giving each layer another grind of S&P. When done, pour incorporated cheese/cream over, covering up to about 2/3 (please don't cover them all the way, the liquid will never get absorbed and you'll have potato cheese stew), cover with foil, and bake 45 minutes to an hour, until most of the liquid is incorporated and the potatoes have softened. Meanwhile, mix bread crumbs and rosemary. When potatoes are almost done, remove from oven, increase temperature to 450, discard foil, sprinkle with crumb mixture and dot with butter. Return uncovered and cook until topping begins to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to cool and absorb remainder of liquid.

A neat trick I've learned is to leave a 1/4 stick of butter in the freezer wrapped in wax paper. Great for when recipes call for "dot with butter." Just pull out the frozen butter, get out your handy dandy box grater (use the big holes), and your life just got easier.

Note: Use roquefort, preferably Carles or Papillon. We've tried other blue cheeses, and it's not nearly as good. You need the power and richness of a good roquefort.

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