I love Sunday food. As a kid, Sundays meant dad making bacon or sausage and mom making eggs or pancakes or French toast. We’d endure the 8 am Mass, stomachs growling, dehydrated, trying to scrape the styrofoam-like Communion wafer* off the roof of our mouths with our tongues, but when we got home there would be the Sunday comics and a really good breakfast, and later on a traditional Sunday dinner with a grilled steak or some pork chops or chicken and mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and some of the vegetables from my parents’ garden. I’d watch Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! with my dad at night and pick out my outfit for school the next day.
These days Sunday means occasionally getting together with friends for brunch, or heading to the Beans & Bagels with a book, or cooking something at home. And making something for dinner that will have substantial leftovers to eat during the week. Tonight I roasted a small pork shoulder roast and made a sauce with shallots and balsamic vinegar and pan juices.
I had a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes around the house, and I’ve been slowly using them up in soups and stews. I found a recipe for roasted potatoes in a random cookbook I bought for $10 at Ikea. I didn’t have the thyme the recipe called for in the house, but I did have a bunch of fresh oregano and parsley from my friend E’s garden, so I made the substitution which led to a revelation: These are my Yia Yia’s potatoes. This is my childhood jumping up and slapping me in the face with its awesomeness.
To duplicate them, you’ll need:
An oven, preheated to 350-400 degrees.
- 1 lb of potatoes, sliced into thin wedges. No need to peel.
- A heavy oven-proof dish
- 2 tbsp of olive oil + the juice of one lemon
- fresh or dried herbs (I went with fresh oregano & parsley, finely chopped)
- sea salt
- A shake of cayenne pepper or hot paprika for color
- I added 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped, because obviously, garlic makes everything better.
- Mix olive oil, lemon juice, a bunch of salt, the herbs and garlic together until it tastes good.
- Toss with the potatoes, sprinkle a little black pepper and the cayenne or paprika for color
- Put the mixture in the pan and put it in the oven.
- Leave it there for…an hour? Mix occasionally to re-coat potatoes with the lemony-olive-y goodness and help them brown evenly. You want the potatoes to be golden brown with slightly burny edges and cooked all the way through but still be firm.
Now, at some point my Yia Yia would add tomatoes to this mess and you’d get brown lemony salty potatoes in a tomato sauce, and my next step is to figure out how to duplicate that. In the meantime, pardon my French, but these potatoes are fucking magic. Screw the rest of dinner. You just need these. Maybe crumble a little feta on them and you’ve got a main dish.
*I don’t want to offend anyone, but does anyone else find the Body of Christ to taste absolutely terrible? I could never get it down my throat and out of my mouth fast enough, and every week it tasted like punishment.