Friday, April 17, 2009


As soon as I saw this Ina Garten recipe mentioned as an aside in an Amateur Gourmet post, I knew it would be the perfect thing to accompany my planned Easter feast of creamy lemon chicken and roasted asparagus; potatoes are a must for mopping up any leftover lemon sauce on the plate, and dill is such a springy flavor. As a bonus, these potatoes are prepared on the stovetop, leaving the oven free for my other dishes—and as nice as potatoes, butter, dill, and salt and pepper taste together, that method is really the star of the show here. Cooking the potatoes in a covered dish over low heat (or lowish, anyway--more on that in a second) produces all the tenderness of a steamed potato with a bit of the roastiness of a fried or baked potato, all coated with what is basically a brown-butter dill sauce. In short, it is excellent.

The reviews of this recipe were generally positive, but they were split about evenly between people who had no trouble with it and people who simply could not get their potatoes to soften over low heat. One commenter suggested that this might be a divide between people with gas stoves and those with electric ones, and my experience bears this out—I have an electric stove, and after 20 minutes over low heat in a cast-iron Dutch oven, my potatoes barely seemed cooked at all; there was hardly even any steam when I lifted the lid. But once I raised the heat to medium, everything went smoothly and the potatoes came out perfectly done. So use your discretion here, but I’d recommend medium heat unless it starts to seem like your butter is scorching. Or maybe start low and then increase if you need to?

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1¼ pounds fingerling potatoes, rinsed but not peeled
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the whole potatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss well.

2. Cover the pot tightly and cook over low to medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender when tested with a small knife. From time to time, shake the pot without removing the lid to prevent the bottom potatoes from burning.

3. Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes. Toss with the dill, and serve hot.

Serves: 3
Time: 35 minutes
Leftover potential: Unknown. I used more like ¾ pound of potatoes, and we ate them all in one sitting. I imagine they’d make OK leftovers, though.

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