"Small Potatoes." How often have you heard that? You're standing naked in the kitchen and suddenly your wife blurts out,"Small potatoes." Fortunately, she's not staring at you. She's looking in the pantry.
Relief and anxiety. Anxiety turns to erotic, small potato possibilities.
“I have a luncheon today and need to bring something. What can ‘we’ make with small potatoes?”
It’s the royal ‘we.’ Hot stove and hotter grease await you and you alone. Erotic images melt like cotton candy in a rainstorm. Thoughts morph to the vision of hot grease on a man’s jolly jingles. Apron! No, wait! Socks, shoes, trousers, shirt, then an apron. Oven mitts. A morning of ‘safe cooking.’
Remember those days when she would have forgotten about those potatoes? Remember those days when you had no idea whose kitchen you were in?
Small Potatoes That Ain’t
4.5 pounds (2.2 kilos) of small potatoes
An inch depth of cooking oil in a medium sized saucepan
2.5 Cups homemade bread crumbs (see very helpful suggestion below)
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 heaping Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 heaping Tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Doin’ the small potato shuffle:
Heat the oven to 400ºF or 200ºC.
Put the oil in the saucepan and heat it on the stovetop to 350ºF or 175ºC.
Wash the potatoes and partially peel them. I leave stripes of peeling on the potatoes.
Dry the potatoes and put the first batch in the hot grease. Continue until all potatoes are ready for the oven. The point of the fry is to get a nice roasted look on the outside. They don’t have to cook completely. You’re going to finish them in the oven. As the potatoes fry to a nice brown, set them in the baking dish.
When all are nicely browned, put the baking dish in the pre-heated, 400ºF oven. 30 minutes should be enough to finish the cooking job.
As the potatoes bake, make the buttered breadcrumbs.
I make my own and here’s how. Crumble enough stale baguette pieces in your food processor to make 2.5 cups. If you don’t have a stale baguette, use any stale bread, or use fresh bread slices and either bake them, or leave them out overnight. I detest the prepared breadcrumbs that come in a can, part of a long list of things I detest!
Put the butter in a skillet, let it melt and add the breadcrumbs. Mix well. Doesn’t matter if the breadcrumbs brown or not, but you want them all buttery.
Putting it all together:
Pull the baked potatoes from the oven, sprinkle over-generously with the buttered breadcrumbs. Salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the Parmesan cheese and put the baking dish back in the oven. Bake until the breadcrumbs are a toasty brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Watch that oven like a hungry hawk!
Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle on the chopped cilantro.
Voilá! Small potatoes have just become a big, scrumptious, crowd-pleasing part of your fantastic culinary repertoire!
Now, go ambush the wife.