If you have more time, you can cook crispy potatoes without frying them.
All it takes – riffing on the “po-ta-toes” scene in the movie “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” – is boiling them, mashing them, and baking them on a baking sheet. .
This preparation is often called mashed potatoes because they are not completely pulverized, riced, or whipped like mashed potatoes.
Unlike the mashed potatoes in rabbit stew touted by Samwise Gamgee in “The Two Towers,” mashed potatoes are a rustic dish with a crispy exterior and chewy interior.
They can be seasoned mostly with salt and pepper and finished with butter, or enhanced with other spices and toppings. The recipe below includes the garlic seasoning and parmesan cheese.
The dish starts with small potatoes, sometimes called new potatoes. This term does not refer to a specific variety of spud but to an age. New potatoes are dug at the start of the harvest season or before maturity.
Some people think that new potatoes taste slightly sweeter. I just think they taste better.
Any variety can be made into mashed potatoes, but I recommend red potatoes. During the two-step cooking process that starts with boiling the potatoes and then crisping them in the oven, the red variety achieves the perfect textural balance between sweetness and body.
Mashed potatoes are like a grown-up side dish to have with meatloaf, steak, or roast or fried chicken.
Locally grown potatoes and other produce are available at the Abilene Farmers Market. It’s open 7 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at Frontier Texas! overflow parking, North First and Mesquite streets.
Vendors also sell herbs, jams, jellies, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, baked goods, pecans, honey, soaps, and lotions.
Local produce and meat are also available at Denton Valley Farms, 8750 County Road 224, Clyde. For the summer, the hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Both marketplaces regularly update their Facebook accounts with product availability.
Late spring heat and high winds have delayed some harvests this year, so be flexible in your menu planning.
Share your favorite recipes or historic food-related memories by emailing Laura Gutschke at [email protected]
1 1/2 to 2 pounds red or yellow new potatoes (about the size of plums or golf balls)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Rinse and scrub the potatoes, keeping the skin intact as much as possible. Use a paring knife to cut out pits or crevices.
2. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water (about 1/2 to 1 inch under water). Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water and heat over high heat. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium-high. Bake until a fork can easily slide into a potato, about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain the potatoes in a large colander and let cool for about 5 minutes.
3. While the potatoes cook, heat the oven to 425 degrees.
4. Pat the potatoes dry (less moisture will improve their crispness during roasting). Place evenly on a plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss with olive oil on a baking sheet, evenly coating the potatoes and the baking sheet in the process.
5. Use a potato masher, the back of a metal serving spoon, or the bottom of a sturdy mug to press the potatoes to about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick for apples of crushed earth. Season lightly on top with garlic.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. Sprinkle a few pinches of Parmesan over each potato. Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes more, until the potatoes are crisp around the edges and bottom. Serve immediately, with butter on the side for more indulgence. Makes about 4-6 servings.
Laura Gutschke is a generalist journalist and food columnist and manages the online content of the Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.