Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ahhh, the Comfort of Potatoes!

Oh, the joy of a perfectly roasted potato! The comforting pleasure of the starchy pillow of potato--your reward for carefully biting through that crisp and well-seasoned exterior!

Having been born Greek, I am culturally bound to the cooking and eating of potatoes. Actually, I think it goes beyond that--it may be a genetic thing.

To my way of thinking, if you have a plate of roasted potatoes, a crisp salad with a vinegar-based dressing and a big fat piece of bread, well, do you need anti-depressants? I vote for this basic meal over the drugs.

This photo is of my recipe of Potatoes Provencale, sitting in all their glory in a roasting pan. The recipe is actually for Chicken & Potatoes Provencale, but my alliegiance is with the potatoes, so I'll give you this recipe to try.

While the recipe is French, the the proportions and enthusiasm are fully Greek! Greek people cook in big quantities, thus always being prepared for impromptu socializing. Does anyone remember "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? You can feed a crowd with this recipe, but it will be a happy crowd.

Potatoes Provencale (for Greek people)

30-32 medium russet potatoes
½ cup white wine
¼ cup lemon juice
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
4 cups canned tomatoes (crushed) with juice
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and finely chopped
sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
¾ cup olive oil

Coat potatoes with other ingredients and bake @ 375 for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, add another 1 cup of water, toss potatoes, increase heat to 400 and finish cooking for about 15-20 more minutes. Potatoes should be cooked through, caramelized and well coated with tomatoes and seasonings. Place in large serving platter and top with additional chopped Italian parsley.


The Greeks know how to keep it simple. Fresh lemon juice, fresh oregano (dry, if fresh is not available), extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper--a marriage of flavors made in food heaven.

2 ½ to 3 lbs potatoes (peeled and quartered lengthwise)
sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
one large bunch of fresh oregano, leaves stripped from stem and lightly chopped. About ¼ cup chopped (OR 3-4 T. dry oregano)
¾ cup lemon juice
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups hot water
5 large cloves of garlic (smashed, peeled and finely chopped)

Pour the lemon juice evenly over the potatoes, then coat with the olive oil.

Sprinkle everything with the salt, pepper, oregano, and the chopped garlic. Toss the potatoes to insure that everything gets a good coating.

Finally, pour the water carefully into one corner of the pan, shake the pan from side to side and you’re ready for the oven.

Bake @ 375 for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, add another 1 cup of water, toss potatoes, increase heat to 400 and finish cooking for about 15-20 more minutes. Potatoes should be cooked through, caramelized and well coated with all the seasonings. Place in large serving platter to serve. Next time, I'll give you the recipe with the chicken!

© 2010 Despina Panagakos Yeargin