Crispy potatoes get a saucy kick
Gerard Craft’s simple recipe for salsa verde gave our knife skills a real workout. But we’re grateful for the practice, as it yielded a versatile sauce we’ll be serving with everything from grilled steaks to roasted vegetables. For starters, we’ll use the salsa verde to dress the chef’s smashed fingerling potatoes, which he serves at his just-opened St. Louis restaurant, Pastaria. The potatoes are soft and crispy and plenty great on their own, but the verdant salsa verde is the real star: The combination of delicate herbs and briny caper berries truly makes the dish pop on the plate.
Pastaria's Crispy Potatoes with Salsa Verde
Recipe adapted from Gerard Craft, Pastaria, Clayton, MO
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped fresh chives
½ cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
½ cup loosely packed fresh
flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
⅓ cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped caper berries
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
3 pounds fingerling potatoes
10 fresh thyme sprigs
¼ cup black peppercorns
1 garlic head
Peanut oil, for panfrying
1. Make the salsa verde: In a medium bowl, combine the garlic with the chives, dill, mint, parsley, tarragon, caper berries and salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with additional salt as needed. Set aside.
2. Make the potatoes: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in large strips. In a large saucepan, combine the peels with the potatoes, thyme and black peppercorns. (Reserve the lemons for another use.) Cut the head of garlic in half horizontally and add both halves to the saucepan. Cover the potatoes with water and simmer over medium heat, until completely tender, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
3. Drain the potatoes, transfer them to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Discard the garlic, lemon peel, thyme and black peppercorns.
4. Using your hands or a potato masher, smash the potatoes until they flatten and open up slightly but are still intact. Set aside.
5. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the peanut oil. Working in batches, cook the potatoes until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
6. In a large bowl, toss the warm potatoes with the reserved salsa verde to taste. (Reserve any extra sauce for another use.) Season with salt and serve immediately.
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Stop by Pastaria next time you’re in St. Louis.