Life-changing potatoes may sound like a bit of an oversell, but I promise you: It isn’t. I’ll tell you why, and it involves a small confession on my part. A few months ago I was having a little bit of a food-writing lull. I was running short on ideas and inspiration, and was having a fairly significant “What is the point of all of this?” moment. Because let’s be honest, food writing, is a fairly noisy, inundated space. On top of that, it’s not as if dissecting the virtues of cilantro foam is a life-saving act.
So needless to say, I was feeling a little down. Then, on a random Wednesday I read one of New York Times Food Editor Sam Sifton’s recipe-laden newsletters. This particular one included his recommendation for Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes. I’m a sucker for a good potato recipe. Even more important, it looked simple enough and I had all of the ingredients. The mid-week culinary stars had aligned perfectly.
With no extra effort than it takes to roast potatoes any other way, the end result was nothing short of magical. I think it’s because of the broth, oil and lemon bath in which they’re roasted, but these little cubes of wonder possessed a perfectly crispy, salty outer texture which then gave way to a soft, creamy center. It stopped me — and my husband — in our tracks. This recipe was quickly declared the only way to ever roast potatoes from then on, and we’ve stuck with that decree.
As I was basking in the potato-fueled euphoria, I had a realization. Sifton’s recipe might not have saved my life, but it absolutely made an otherwise ho-hum Wednesday evening delicious and exciting. And that’s a win in and of itself. So I’m sharing the recipe here with all of you. Because sometimes saving a Wednesday night is just what the doctor ordered.
New York Times’ Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes
½ cup chicken broth or water
½ cup olive oil
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 3-4 large lemons)*
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
3 pounds of large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6), peeled then halved lengthwise and crosswise*
1 Tablespoon dried oregano (optional)
Flaky salt and black pepper, for serving
*Ok so I lied a little bit in the article — I didn’t actually have lemons the first time I made this, and it was still delicious. Also, I have used multiple types of potatoes and the results are equally glorious.
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the chopped potatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet.
- Mix together the olive oil, broth and lemon juice and salt. I find it’s easiest to just pour it all into one liquid measuring cup, and give it a few stirs.
- Pour the liquid over the potatoes and mix it all around so the potatoes are coated evenly.
- Make sure the potatoes are spread out in an even layer. The New York Times says to make sure they’re “cut side down”. That feels like a lot of effort to me. Just make sure the potatoes are spread out evenly.
- Sprinkle the oregano, if used.
- Pop the potatoes into the oven. Set a timer for 25-30 minutes, because you’ll want to flip the potatoes half way through the baking process. Bake for another 25-30 minutes (about 55-60 minutes altogether).
- If at the end of the cooking time the potatoes are cooked all the way through (tender with a fork) but not as crispy as you’d like them to be, switch to broiler mode and broil them for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle with flaky salt and black pepper to taste.
This story was originally published in the February print edition of Climate Magazine.