In the last class I taught you how to make a quick Caprese Pasta. I do hope that it inspired you to cook more meals at home. With ease of preparation at the forefront of my mind, I thought this roasted fingerling potato recipe would be appropriate. If you’ve never eaten a fingerling potato you are in for a real treat, they are creamier and sweeter than a standard size potato with a slightly nutty flavor. A huge bonus is due to their size, they cook much more quickly than their larger relatives. What is nice about this recipe is that is not only quick, but it affords so many wonderful possibilities (I will share them with you later).
Before I get into the recipe, I want to talk a little more about fingerling potatoes. Firstly, they come in a variety of colors: red, yellow, purple, etc. Note that the color of the skin has no effect on the flavor. They all taste the same, but I personally like to roast a variety of colors because I find it aesthetically pleasing. When buying these potatoes look for them to be firm and blemish free. Store them in a cool dark place until you are ready to use.
Now let’s get cooking!
This recipe will serve four people. For it you will need: one pound fingerling potatoes, ¼ cup canola oil, one tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, one tablespoon sweet chili, juice of two lemons, one tablespoon granulated garlic, one teaspoon smoked paprika, salt, pepper, spray oil, knife, large bowl, baking sheets and a large spoon.
First thing to do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, slice all the fingerling potatoes in half lengthwise and place in a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough that you can easily toss the potatoes with the other ingredients.
Once you cut the potatoes you are going to want to proceed with the recipe immediately because a cut potato will quickly oxidize and turn brown. Once all the cut potatoes are in the bowl, add in: juice of two lemons, sweet chili, granulated garlic, canola oil, smoked paprika and rosemary. You use granulated garlic in this recipe instead of fresh because fresh garlic would burn and become bitter. Once everything is added into the bowl, toss well with the spoon and make sure every potato is coated.
Now spray your baking sheet or sheets generously with oil. Place potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. You don’t want to overcrowd them or they won’t cook evenly. If need be, use two baking sheets. Next place the baking sheets into your preheated oven and check after fifteen minutes. What you are looking for is a nice golden brown color and for them to be fork tender. What that means is that you can JUST get a fork into the potato. Once they are cooked, remove from the oven and salt and pepper to taste.
Now the possibilities I mentioned earlier. Of course these make a fabulous side dish, but there are other things to do with them. Think about tossing them into your favorite salad. Or how about adding some mayonnaise and vinegar and creating an over the top potato salad? Having a party? Top the roasted fingerlings with a dollop of sour cream and some black truffle caviar, delicious!
How about a play on hash? Sauté some onions and garlic in a pan, add in the roasted fingerlings, top with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Place under the broiler until cheese is gooey and wonderfully melted.
Now that you have this technique you can use it on more than just fingerling potatoes. This method works great on cauliflower or broccoli florets, parsnips, carrots, turnips and onions. It is also a fabulous way to make croutons using cubes of stale bread. Additionally, play with the herbs and fruit juice. Orange and coriander would make a carrot sing. Thyme and lime would work wonderfully on cauliflower. Remember, as with any technique or recipe, the most important component is the cook’s heart. The heart is what helps you create delicious meals you’ll never forget.
Chef Flowers has over 25 years of fine cuisine experience. The former Executive Chef at Top of The Market, San Diego, also owned Fournos restaurant in Sedona, Arizona, named a top 25 restaurant in Arizona. He was also Executive Chef at L’Auberge de Sedona, the AAA Four-Diamond, Four Star award winning restaurant. Flowers has created extraordinary cuisine for some of the finest restaurants in Arizona, including T. Cooks at Scottsdale's Royal Palms Resort and the Phoenician's Mary Elaine's and Different Pointe of View.