June 17, 2014

Brown Butter Roasted Potatoes

These days, a successful evening involves baby’s bedtime at 6:30 or 7:00, leaving me a few precious moments in which to water the garden, do some minimal cleaning, and cook an incredibly simple meal. My solution? Roasted vegetables. Every night. Cut them up, stick them in the oven, go about my business. Trust me – the most time-consuming thing about roasting vegetables is picking them out at the grocery store.

There are all sorts of resources out there for roasting vegetables, but one hardly needs a recipe. Good Balsamic vinegar and a dab of olive oil keep veggies from drying out in the oven and give them a rich, slightly sweet flavor. My favorites lately have been sweet potatoes, carrots (with a sprinkle of brown sugar), and Brussels sprouts (with or without bacon) but I am constantly finding new things to roast and new combinations of flavors. So if you can stand to have your oven on during these unbelievably warm days, try basing an early weeknight supper on roasted vegetables and beans. It’s the all-seasons meal that will leave you feeling just great about yourself.

And with that, I’d like to share a slightly less healthy but incredibly delicious way of roasting potatoes. Forget olive oil; this one uses a gorgeous brown butter. We made these potatoes last Friday night and ate them alongside a simple spinach salad with blueberries, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds. While they need no accompaniment, these potatoes are pretty delicious with barbecue sauce or sour cream.

The recipe is inspired by Cook’s Country, an offshoot of Cook’s Illustrated. The only quip I have about these fine cooking publications is that their recipes tend to be on the text-heavy side, leaving lazy readers like me skipping important steps. And that just makes cooking a little more complicated than it needs to be. But Cook’s is always able to back up their recipes with tried-and-true methods from their test kitchen. So because I want these potatoes in my life always, I have created a few shortcuts that work much better for me at the end of a long day.

Brown Butter Roasted Potatoes
Adapted from Cook’s Country, with a few shortcuts

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ½” thick
5 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cover potatoes with about 1 inch of water and 2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes.

While potatoes are boiling, heat butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, making sure butter doesn't burn. Cook until butter is fragrant and completely brown in color. Set aside. 

Drain potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour brown butter evenly over potatoes and let them "marinate" for about 10 minutes, flipping once. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  

Cook for 40 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown and irresistible. Try not to burn fingers sampling a piece right out of the oven. 

As you can see, I sliced my spuds just a little too thinly, so don't skimp on the slices. They should be a real half-inch thick, and will in turn absorb more butter and keep from burning in the oven. Enjoy these beauties!

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