Rosemary and Garlic Roast Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a crunchy cornered hot roast potato? The following method always results in crunchy potatoes for me. You need a heavy bottomed roasting tray, and to follow the procedure to the letter.

Serves 6 to  8

Potatoes: 1 kg preferably new potatoes, or other suitably waxy varieties such as Charlotte. However, this method has worked for us on most varieties including Roosters, Kerr Pinks etc.

Sunflower oil

Garlic: 8 to 10 large cloves, just slightly crushed against the work top under the heel of your hand.

Rosemary: 3 sprigs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Peel the potatoes, and cut larger ones in half to have a uniform size throughout.   Place in a large saucepan, covered in cold water. At this point, turn on oven to 2o0 degrees or Gas mark 6 and pre-heat heavy bottomed roasting tray. Leave in the oven heating until it is required. Heat the saucepan of potatoes until the water is almost at simmering and then turn off. Drain immediately and return to the hot saucepan to fully evaporate the potatoes of all water. Once they are dry, add a few good glugs of sunflower oil and fully coat the potatoes in the oil to seal them and also to have a good excess of oil in the pan.

Remove the hot heavy bottomed roasting tray from the oven, and place on the hob for safety, prior to gently pouring the potatoes and the excess oil onto the hot tray. Add freshly ground pepper and sea salt to the potatoes, and the cloves of garlic and sprigs of rosemary. Turn them gently in the oil and return to the oven for 40 minutes until the are golden brown. Turn once half way through.

Once cooked to a crunchy outside and a soft fluffy middle, drain well on paper, place in a warm bowl tossed with chopped up fresh rosemary from one sprig. Serve straight away.

Salsa Verde or Green Herb Sauce

Salsa Verde, or herb-y green-y sauce-y, as our girls call it, is a wonderfully herbaceous gooey sauce that has the most verdant green colour imaginable. When you blitz it in the blender, you turn a whole massive pile of ingredients into a few tablespoons of sauce, which you instinctively feel a little disappointed with, in terms of volume. But then you taste it… and you realise that a little goes a long way. We have used this sauce with most meats and poultry. We love to use it with lamb and one of our favourite recipes is Rosemary and Garlic Griddle Lamb, but we also use it often as a topping on grilled chicken fillets. The following recipe is the initial guideline you need to make your own original version of Salsa Verde.

Serves 4

Garlic: 1 small clove

Flat-leaf parsley: A good big handful with the coarse stalks removed

Basil: 15 to 20 leaves

Tarragon: Leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs

Anchovy fillets: 4 to 5 fillets

Capers: About 1 teaspoon

Mustard (Dijon or English): About 1 teaspoon

Sugar: A pinch

Lemon juice or vinegar: A few drops

Extra virgin olive oil: 2 to 3 tablespoons

Freshly ground black pepper

Add all these ingredients to a food processor, and pulse to a saucy consistency.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the use of a food processor, finely chop the garlic on a large chopping board. Then add the herbs, anchovies, and capers and chop all together until fine in texture. Add to a mixing bowl, and mix in the mustard, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and freshly ground black pepper, and when initially mixed, add enough olive oil to give a glossy saucy consistency. As soon as the sauce is complete, taste and tweak to your own liking.

This sauce is best made just before serving, but what’s leftover, if any, will keep for a few days in the fridge, covered or in a jar.

Salsa Verde on Rosemary and Garlic Griddle Lamb Bap

Photographs courtesy of Sarah Ní Shúilleabhain 2012.