Two Delicious Takes on a Go-To Comfort Food
As the fourth most prolifically produced crop in the world, there are nearly endless ways to prepare potatoes. Fry them in strips, double fry them in rounds, bake them once – or twice, make pasta dumplings with them, mash them, smash them, hash them, mix them with dill for cold salad, we digress. Because of their abundant versatility, potatoes are the perfect comfort food for every season, often making an appearance on the most celebratory tables around the world. They’re a staple for casual lunches and elegant feasts alike, and, while almost always served as a side dish, are also often the favorite part of the meal.
Insider fact: Potatoes arrived in Ireland near Cork in 1549 and quickly became the dominant food source of the country. They spread to the rest of Europe after a few decades; the first potato patches were planted in the United States by Irish and Scottish immigrants in 1719.
We’d love to dedicate an entire day to exploring the myriad ways that potatoes but, alas, timing does not allow for such indulgence. So this week, Chef Jon Ashton is preparing two of the most tried-and-truly delicious versions of classic spuds. One wonderfully roasted to crisp perfection and flavored with thyme, parsley and rosemary; the other mashed with cream and butter and perfectly decadent. Whether Sunday supper or a Thanksgiving holiday, one of these two potato specialties (or both, really) need to be on your table. Check the recipe below, gather your ingredients and join us for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton this Sunday, November 22 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.
By Chef Jon Ashton
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking soda
4 pounds (1.8 kg) Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size
7 tablespoons (105 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly milled black pepper
1/2 cup herbs (20 grams) Italian parsley, rosemary and thyme, minced
Place rimmed baking sheet on rack and preheat oven to 450°F.
Heat 2 quarts water (2 liters) in a large pot over high heat until boiling. Add the kosher salt, baking soda, and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until a knife can be gently inserted into a potato, about 10-12 minutes.
When potatoes are cooked, drain into a colander and let them rest in the colander for about a minute to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to a bowl with 5 tablespoons (75 ml) olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss to coat, shaking the bowl a little to toss the potatoes. The goal is to form a starchy paste on the outside of each potato. This will help make for a super crunchy exterior.
Remove baking tray from oven and brush tray with remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil. Add the potatoes, spreading them out evenly to allow the dry oven air to flow around them.
Place in oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Turn over potatoes, using a spatula on any that may have stuck. Continue roasting until the potatoes are gloriously brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 20-40 minutes longer or until desired doneness.
Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper, Garnish fresh herbs.
By Chef Jon Ashton
5 pounds (2.3 kg) Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, skin left on
Kosher salt and white pepper
1 cup (240 ml) full fat milk (warmed)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (warmed)
1 stick (120 ml, or 115 grams) butter, melted
2 tablespoons (6 grams) chives, finely minced
Place the unpeeled potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover. Season generously with salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until a knife can be gently inserted into a potato; begin checking them after 18-20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes into a colander. Set food mill or ricer over now empty, but still warm pot. Spear potato with dinner fork, then peel back skin with paring knife. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Working in batches, cut peeled potatoes into large chunks and drop into food mill or potato ricer. Process or rice potatoes into saucepan.
Whisk the potato purée with a hand whisk. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, cream, and melted butter, then season with salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with minced chives.
Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.