Thursday, October 20, 2011


My!New!Oven! was installed unexpectedly midweek, so I hadn’t had the chance to plan and shop for any recipes that would put it to use immediately. I did break it in by making chocolate chip cookies and baked oatmeal, two things I could throw together using ingredients already in my pantry, but it wasn’t until the following Sunday that I really got to bake my official inaugural meal. I didn’t have to think very long about what I wanted: roasted chicken with actual bones in it (not daring to attempt anything as ambitious as a whole chicken until the oven and I became better acquainted, I went with lemon-garlic drumsticks), and these potatoes, which I’d bookmarked at Smitten Kitchen last spring, after the “I love Dijon mustard” realization of early 2011, but before The Great Ovenlessness.

And it was AWESOME. Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who hadn’t eaten a roasted vegetable in five months, but these were easily the best potatoes I’ve ever made, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and so incredibly tasty. Old Me would have been scared off by the quantity of mustard I slathered on those things, but truthfully, after roasting, the overall taste wasn’t very identifiably mustardy (I don’t think if I’d tasted one blindfolded, I would have exclaimed, “Ah, mustard!”), just super-complex and dynamic and wonderful. It was a little more complicated to put together than many other roasted potato recipes I’ve tried, but every single one of those ingredients—oil, butter, lemon juice and zest, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper—played a crucial role in the zippy flavor. In particular, the whole mustard seeds became addictively nutty and crunchy when roasted; I found myself picking up the crusty scraps that fell off the potatoes and devouring them straight off the baking sheet with glee. I’d better start buying larger jars of mustard, because this is going to be my go-to potato recipe from now on.

¼ cup whole-grain Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground, which still has enough liquidity that it sticks to the potatoes easily; if your mustard is on the drier side, you may want to consider using 3 tablespoons of it and 1 tablespoon of regular, smooth Dijon to help things along)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1½ pounds small unpeeled red and/or yellow potatoes, cut into ¾-inch-wide wedges
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray or coat with parchment paper.

2. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, lemon peel, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add potatoes; sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet, spreading them out in a single layer.

3. Roast potatoes 20 minutes. Stir, and then roast about 25 minutes longer, until crusty and browned.

(Potatoes can be made up to 2 hours ahead; let stand on baking sheet at room temperature, then rewarm in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes.)

Serves: 4–5
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: OK; leftover potatoes will be softer if reheated in the microwave, but they’ll still have great flavor. I haven’t tried reheating them in the oven, but I imagine that would restore them to something closer to their former glory.

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