A friend of mine recently asked me and a few others what were our top five potato recipes ranked from 1 to 5. You can tell a lot about a person based on what their top potato recipe is. In fact, it’s a great way to decide whether the two of you should be friends at all.
But jokes aside here’s my top five. If you don’t agree with me, we can’t be friends.
1- Pommes de terre sautées au persil et à l’ail:
Essentially, you dice some potatoes, then you boil them, then you put them in a pan with a lot of butter and some garlic until they are golden crispy. Then, you add some parsley and you you call it a day. They are best made with pommes grenaille (New potatoes). The best version of these can be eaten at one of my favorite paris restaurants, called Robert et Louise, with a generous side of cote de boeuf.
2- French fries, fried in olive oil:
Yes I know this is really bad for you but we have to die from something, don’t we? I share my love for the olive oil fried potatoes with my grandfather who I’ve never met. They are tastiest when made over wood fire at a picnic, with a side of tabbouleh. For a taste of Aleppo, you can also sprinkle them with lemon juice and pressed garlic before eating.
3- Batata Harra the Ottolenghi way:
Umami and spice all in one dish. Dice the potatoes, boil them, then mix them with cooking oil, salt and pepper and put them in the oven. Halfway through, add coriander, garlic, and red pepper flakes. When cooked add some more coriander and some lemon zest and juice.
4- My mother’s boiled potato salad:
This dish reminds me of when we were kids, and would get the stomach flu. Doctors would ask our mom to feed us rice and potatoes, and we must have been the only kids on the block for who this was a treat, because my mother has a way with rice, and because she makes the best Lebanese mashed potatoes ever. Boil the potatoes, peel them, mash them with a fork, and progressively add salt, pepper, and olive oil, until the texture is like playdoh. Spread them on a plate then sprinkle them with fresh wild thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. You can also include chopped tomatoes and onions for the extra acidity.
5- Pommes de terre forestières:
The best version of this can be had at Couqley’s in Beirut or Dubai. It’s a “Vegetarian” version, without the bacon. Cook chopped parsley, garlic and onions in a pan in olive oil. In the mean time cut the potatoes in slices, deep fry them but not fully. Layer the potatoes with the parsley, garlic, onion mix then put the whole thing in the oven with some butter on the top. Obviously add whichever seasoning tickles your fancy, starting with salt, pepper, some paprika…