Until I moved to Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t a big event for me. But that first year, I was stunned by the site of what locals took for granted — a boat slowly traveling the Chicago River depositing a rich green dye into the water. It was amazing to see the water turn emerald.
Thereafter I understood: St. Patrick’s Day is taken seriously in Chicago. And it’s a great excuse for an all-day party in cold and dreary March.
This year, I decided to focus on that staple of the Irish diet, the potato. And in honor of Chicago, I made it a “green” potato recipe.
To make the potatoes in the oven, you set the potatoes on a rack set over a baking sheet. That way the hot air circulates around the potatoes, crisping them perfectly.
These crisp roasted potatoes are crunchy on the outside and soft and silky inside. So much so, you don’t need the addition of butter or sour cream to make them creamy. But they do get even better when tossed in a green herb and garlic sauce.
The potatoes also are just as good served cold the next day, so refrigerate any leftovers and serve with sandwiches for a new take on potato salad.
Roasted “green” potatoes
24 small red potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the sauce:
4 cups lightly packed chopped curly parsley (1 to 2 bunches)
2 cups fresh basil (or blend of fresh herbs)
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced shallot or onion
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
Heat a gas or charcoal grill and set for indirect medium heat grilling. Alternatively, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl or large zip-close plastic bag. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and toss again to coat evenly.
If cooking on the grill, place the potatoes directly on the cooler side of the grill. If cooking in the oven, set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and place the potatoes on the rack. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the potato skins are lightly puffed and the insides are tender. You do not need to turn the potatoes during cooking.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until chopped well, but not liquefied. For a blender, it’s best to start with the liquid ingredients and end with the parsley.
As soon as the potatoes are done, transfer them to a large serving bowl. Drizzle the sauce, about ¼ cup at a time, over the potatoes and toss well to coat. You may have some sauce left over. Serve immediately or chill and serve cold.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving of potatoes: 140 calories; 40 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 3 g protein; 330 mg sodium.
Per 2 tablespoons of sauce: 100 calories; 90 calories from fat (90 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 1 g protein; 130 mg sodium.