Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Potatoes fondantes, French for best potato dish ever

Potatoes fondantes. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Aren't these potatoes gorgeous? The glistening butter and olive oil, the crispy golden skin, they're just about everything you could ever want in a side dish. This is a recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin, who wrote about them in a long-ago issue of Fine Cooking. I adore Jacques Pepin. Some folks go all "Julie and Julia" about Julia Child, and I truly do admire Mrs. Child, but for me, it's Jacques all the way. Watching the series "Cooking with Claudine," I learned so much about using ingredients and the techniques needed to enjoy cooking.

I could go on, but then you would miss these grand potatoes, the perfect side dish for a roast chicken or nice medium-rare steak. Go simple on the main dish and let these potatoes steal the spotlight.

Melt butter and olive oil in skillet, toss in potatoes. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Add broth, then cook until potatoes are steamed. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Super-buttery and roasty toasty on the outside, tender & flavorful inside. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Jacques Pepin's Potatoes Fondantes

New potatoes can be hard to find and sometimes pricey. This recipe can be made with medium-sized Yukon Golds that are peeled and cut into 1-inch dice. Not quite as good as the new potatoes, but still worth the work.

2 pounds new potatoes or 5 to 6 medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse and dry the potatoes. Place a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter.

2. When butter is melted and fat is sizzling, add potatoes and thyme. Pour broth into pan until it reaches halfway up the potatoes. If more liquid is needed, add water or additional broth. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat, leaving lid slightly ajar.

3. After about 20 minutes, check on potatoes. Remove thyme sprigs.They should be tender. Use a weight such as a measuring cup or (my choice) meat pounder to gently smash each potato. (if not using new potatoes, you can skip this step and go right to the browning).

4. Turn the heat to medium high and pan-roast the potatoes until they are brown and crispy on each side. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Text and images copyright 2013, Lucy Mercer.


Momma Bear said...

Oh YUM!!

Lucy Mercer said...

I know, right?

Terry said...

Lucy I'm confused..the potatoes in the picture don't look like "new potatoes" (thought they were always red). Also why do you need to skip the "bopping" step if not using the new potatoes?

Lucy Mercer said...

Thanks for reading, Terry! New potatoes can be red or yellow, they're just younger versions of regular, everyday potatoes. I used the yellow-skinned Yukon golds here. Sorry to mislead with the instructions for full-sized potatoes. If you use regular potatoes, there's no need to smash, just cook them through until the liquid evaporates, then brown in the remaining butter.

Heather said...

I've never tried potatoes like this, think I need to fix that :)