Posted by johngl
We were tripping the rift inside of Costco yesterday and developed a hankerin’ for some red meat somewhere along the way. But this post isn’t really about steak — though you will see steak posted — it’s about the potatoes.
These may well be the best roasted potatoes I’ve come up with in a while and I’d thought I’d share the secret formula. Well, that’s a bit of stretch. I do this blogging thing to keep track of my own cooking adventures, but if you feel like coming along for the ride, I don’t mind.
So, potatoes. I’ve developed a real fondness for Russet Burbanks and they work really well for this preparation. They are also my go-to tater for fries. They are particularly good when they’ve been around for a while and skin becomes a bit wrinkly. This is the “secret” behind golden arches supper club fries…and it is fries, not burgers, that actually made them famous.
Digression: Way back when, the potatoes were stored “out back” in a very dry climate for over a month. The fries from the older potatoes actually tasted better than those from “fresh” potatoes. It took a while to figure out why the particular taste couldn’t be reproduced properly at other locations. Someone finally figured it out: the older potatoes contained less moisture and therefore cooked up crispier on the outside and remained fluffy on the inside. The rest is history.
Anyway, I keep my taters stored in my wine cellar. They keep nearly forever, but do lose some moisture over time, which is perfect for this application. You can use “fresher” potatoes, but it will take longer to get the proper exterior crispiness going.
A few years back, most glorious spousal unit declared that our toaster oven “sucked ass” and proceeded to strong-arm me into buying a $250 Breville unit at Williams-Sonoma. I have to say this oven is a dream and to call it a “toaster oven” is doing it an injustice. It will handle a 13″ pizza like it was made for it, and, in fact, was. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because if your toaster oven “sucks ass” then your results will be different.
For the potatoes, I used the pizza pan that comes with the Breville Countertop Oven. A trick I learned is to pre-heat the pan (or tray) you’re going to be using for the potatoes; it keeps sticking to a minimum. In the shot above, the potatoes have been lightly coated with olive oil (not extra virgin) and salted. The oven was set at 390°F and I allowed it time to preheat (the Breville beeps at you when it’s ready).
A half hour in, which, coincidentally, is the same amount of time I allow my steak-grilling charcoal to heat up properly, the potatoes look like those in the photo above. Slightly browned and way hot, I apply some additional herbs and spices (fresh sage, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and a tad bit of Parmesan cheese). After tossing the potatoes with another tablespoon of olive oil and the herb/spice/cheese blend, I pop them back into the oven, resetting the temp at about 425°F. This accomplishes two things. It quickly gets the potatoes back up to temp and browns things up right quick.
About now, I get ready to haul my steaks out to the grill.
These have been sitting out on the counter for at least an hour in order to take the chill off. I like my steaks at 60°F (or slightly warmer) before they hit the grill. I also make sure they are salted when I set them out. If I have the opportunity, I’ll salt the steaks as much as 24 hours in advance (and store them in the fridge, of course).
Before heading to the grill, the steaks get a light coating of olive oil on both sides and a goodly amount of fresh ground pepper gets applied.
About seven minutes elapsed on the potato clock, so I dropped the temp down to 400°F before I headed to the great outdoors with the steaks.
This is right at four minutes into the grilling process. I love those grill marks!
After another four minutes, the steaks were ready to plate.
The fries came out crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The seasonings were spot on.
The steak was good, too.
A perfect medium rare!
This meal really hit the spot and satisfied that hankerin’ for meat. And those Russet “home fries” were some of the best I’ve ever made.