Patate in padella

Patate in padella (Sautéed Potatoes)

In contorno by Frank2 Comments

These pan-fried potatoes make for a wonderful accompaniment to lamb and other meat dishes, and they are incredibly simple and easy to make:

Peel and cut waxy, yellow-fleshed potatoes into wedges, put them in a non-stick frying pan with olive oil, a sprig of rosemary and a slightly crushed but unpeeled clove of garlic (or two).

Sauté the potatoes for a few minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper, to allow them to insaporire and to brown ever so slightly. Then add a splash of white wine and water to cover them about halfway. Cover and lower the heat to medium.

Allow them to simmer until the water has evaporated (this should only take a few minutes). Test for doneness: stick a paring knife into a potato wedge; if you cannot lift the wedge with your knife, it is done. (NB: Thanks to Rouxbe for this tip!) Then raise the flame to high and brown the potatoes a bit (they should not be overly brown, just spottled here and there).

Now for a little trick: do not serve the potatoes right away. The have much better flavor and texture if you let them ‘rest’ for a while with the cover on. If you like your potatoes hot, then gently re-heat them. I am not sure of the chemistry here, but the rest makes a world of difference.

Notes

This is a simple dish, obviously, and not really very tricky. But there are one or two points to keep in mind. Most importantly, you need to use waxy, yellow-fleshed potatoes—the kind you would use for potato salad. If you use mealy potatoes such as Russets (and, I suspect, even so-called ‘all purpose’ potatoes) you will wind up with something close to lumpy mashed potatoes. The other point is not to brown the potatoes too much; these are not meant to taste or feel like French fries in the mouth. You want just a little caramelization, mostly for some extra depth of flavor and a little color. Pan-roasted potatoes can also be (and, in fact, are usually) made with entirely ‘dry’ heat (i.e., without adding wine or water) but I find that combining dry and wet heat speeds the cooking process and also provides a finer texture.

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