Monday, June 14, 2010
Crispy Grilled Potatoes
Last weekend, we bought a grill. It's just a simple charcoal-burning Weber, but I'm already certain of its ability to drastically enhance my summer eating experience. There's something about standing outside, tongs in hand, watching glowing coals transform your ingredients into your dinner that is primally satisfying.
So when my sister called and said hey, we have some meat already marinating in Alyse's secret recipe marinade...can we come cook it on your grill? I said, heck yes. And then I thought dangit, what can I contribute? We've got steak. We've got salad. We need potatoes.
I used a two pound bag of red potatoes, and luckily enough they were all about the same size. If you get to select each potato, having them all the same size is handy; they'll all be done around the same time. These are boiled just to the point that knife slips in easily all the way to the center. Any further, and they'd fall apart too much on the grill.
Then I pressed them with the bottom of a glass (gently!) until they flattened out a little bit and skin gapped enough to expose a few cracks of creamy interior. These spuds are simply seasoned with a brush of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grilled over medium hot coals they are, I think, the perfect example of the whole being so much more than the sum of its parts.
Crispy Grilled Potatoes
serves 4 as a side dish
When (gently!) flattening the potatoes, it may take you a couple of tries to determine how much pressure is enough, and you will almost certainly smush a few into non-grillable oblivion. That's ok! Save the squashed ones and make hash browns for breakfast tomorrow.
2 lbs red potatoes, ideally all around the same 2 inch diameter
Clean the potatoes and cut out any bad spots. Put them in a large pot and fill with cool water to cover by an inch or two. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Salt the water generously, then cook the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife slips easily all the way to the center, meeting no resistance. Take them out as soon as they are done, do not cook them to oblivion or they won't hold together when you flatten them.
While the potatoes are cooking, start your grill. You're aiming for medium high heat. Give the grill a 15 minute pre-heat, at least.
When the potatoes are done, spread them on a cookie sheet and let them dry for a couple of minutes (the remaining heat will do this for you). Use the bottom of a glass and press to (gently!) flatten the still warm potaotes a little bit. Brush the top with olive oil (maybe a tablespoon or two for the whole batch?), sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Flip the potatoes over, oil and season the other side.
Place the potatoes on the preheated grill grate carefully - don't burn yourself! After a couple of minutes, check to see if they need to be flipped. You're aiming for lightly charred. Flip as necessary, and don't be afraid to shuffle them around, parts of the grill will be hotter than others. When both sides are crispy and golden with a few charred spots, remove and serve. These are excellent with homemade aioli or mayonnaise.