These potato nests are like shredded bundles of fried potato shoestrings. Do I have your attention? You’ll note a decidedly shortingredient list. The recipe is a blank canvas onto which you can free to improvise additions like adding a handful of chopped herbs (chives, dill and parsley are nice) or shredded carrots or beets. But I caution against getting too fussy with it. I tend to err on the side of keeping it simple, and here simplicity will not disappoint.
I like to serve these with a spoonful of crème fraiche that’s been mixed a grated garlic clove and a squeeze of lemon. If you’re feeling real fancy, you could add a dollop of caviar and no one would complain.
Serves 4-6 as appetizer or as a side to main meal
- 600 g shredded Idaho potatoes (roughly 3 large potatoes)
- 90 g brown rice flour
- 2 t kosher salt
- Couple grinds black pepper
- Couple scraps of fresh nutmeg on microplane
- Roughly 1 C grapeseed or sunflower oil
Mix together the shredded potatoes, brown rice flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Work quickly as the potatoes will begin to oxidize after they’ve been shredded.
In a medium sized, high-sided skillet, add enough oil to come up about ½” and heat the oil over medium flame. The oil is ready when you a small scoop of shredded potato sizzles when it hits the oil. If not, let it heat a bit more.
Scoop small spoonfuls of shredded potato into the oil. I use a small ice cream scooper to portion the potatoes into the oil, but you could easily use a spoon. Once the potato hits the oil, spread the top a bit so you get a more flat disc as opposed to mini-mountain. This ensure even cooking.
Once the potatoes are browned, roughly 2 minutes, flip them over, taking care not to burn yourself with hot oil. If they’re coloring too quickly, adjust the heat.
Transfer to a sheet tray with a rack to drain excess oil. Try not to eat them all as you fry.
Top and serve or store for later snacking. Refrigerating will make them softer but not inedible. Think cold pizza
I love potatoes. They are the workhorse of any great kitchen. Delicious on their own, they’re always a warm and generous addition to soups, stews and curries. Quietly elegant, endlessly versatile, potatoes possess all the most desired traits of an ideal dinner guest.
You would be hard-pressed to get bored with a pantry stocked with potatoes. Here are a few options: Shredded and pan-fried, sliced thin and fried (hello, kettle chips!), roasted, boiled, mashed, smashed, baked, twice-baked, triple-fried. Perhaps my favorite aspect of working with potatoes is their ability to naturally thicken soup, omitting the need for copious amounts of cream or butter. Watching a chunky mess of vegetables and potatoes floating in water transform into a smooth, velvety elixir as the VitaMix whirs feels almost mystical.
Here are two of my favorite iterations of potatoes: roasted potatoes with herbs and garlic and a delicious green soup.
Note: if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve over-seasoned a pot of soup (or anything else liquid-based for that matter), add a peeled potato and it will soak up the extraneous salt. In that vein, when you cook with potatoes, keep in mind they are quite dense and require a heavy hand in seasoning. I boil them in salted water that tastes like the sea.
Roast potatoes with sage, rosemary and garlic
- 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
- 1/2 head of garlic cloves, crushed with the skin on
- Handful of sage
- Handful of rosemary
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Blanch the potatoes in water that’s heavily salted (it should taste like the sea) for about five minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander then put them back in the hot pot to dry completely for a few moments.
Toss the potatoes (with gusto!) in a large bowl with the crushed garlic cloves, rosemary, sage, and lot’s of olive oil. You should see starch clinging to the potatoes and the sides of the bowl as you’re tossing. This helps the potatoes get crispy — a very important step.
Lay the potatoes in a single layer on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Use two trays if necessary.
Cook the potatoes to tender and crispy, about 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 425 for the last five or 10 minutes of cooking for a nice brown crust.
Deliciously healthy green soup
- 4 leeks, white and light green part only, sliced on an angle
- 2 medium potatoes, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
- 2 bunches parsley, leaves only (save the stems for stock or chop them very fine to add to potato salad, rice or grain salad — the stems have lot’s of parsley flavor!)
- 3 fresh bay leaves
Boil a pot of water. Season it with salt and blanch the parsley for 30 seconds. Drain the parsley and immediately transfer it into ice water (this preserves the bright green color). Once cooled, squeeze the parsley to remove most of the liquid and set it aside.
Meanwhile, sweat the leeks over medium heat in two tablespoons each of olive oil and butter. Don’t brown the leeks — if you see color start to develop before the leeks are softened, turn the heat down. Add the thyme and the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the sliced potatoes and the bay leaves. Cover with cold water. Boil, then turn the heat down to simmer until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife. Remove the bay leaves.
Using a Vitamix, an immersion blender, or a blender, blend the soup base with the blanched parsley to smooth. Season with salt and serve with a drizzle of flavorful olive oil.
You can also serve this soup chilled, which is especially delicious during hot summer months. Make an ice bath (one smaller bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice and water) and chill the soup in an ice bath until it’s cold before transferring it to the fridge. Using an ice bath will help preserve the bright green color.