lemon potatoesFFOL Editor 1
Is this a good place to admit that I almost never ate potatoes growing up? I tell my Russian husband this and he’s baffled. Mashed? No. Roasted? No. Fries, only at restaurants. Tater tots, from the freezer on a too-rare occasion. Baked potatoes were definitely a dinner menu item and I don’t think anyone had anything against potatoes, just not a strong pull towards them. Needless to say, if the archives here are any indication, my kids will not be saying the same. And yet despite the gratins, the crispy crumbled, the melting, the brown butter mash, the kugel, twice-baked and the Anna, I still crave potatoes in ways I have yet finetuned a recipe for, and this brought me to a surge of lemon potato studies over the winter.
Greek lemon potatoes (patates lemonates) are a classic for good reason: crispy edges, tender interiors, and steeped with lemon. They’re often served plain or a side with roast lamb, chicken, or another big Sunday meal. Typically, Russets (or Maris Piper in the UK) are used, and they’re often parboiled before roasting with, garlic, oregano, and olive oil are always present. Some have an added spoonful of semolina for extra crisp. I tried them all. They were all delicious. But I realized what I was yearning for in a lemon potato was closer to the roast-braise infusion of melting or fondant potatoes: Yukon gold potatoes, no par-boil, and a puddle of broth and lemon juice added in the last third of roasting time. This method yields so much flavor and richness, the potatoes seem to almost melt all while staying crisp at the edges. The pan juices reduce to a sticky, intensely flavored concentration. These might not be the most traditional, but I find them sunny and perfect.
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- 2 pounds yukon gold (ideally) or russet potatoes (see note), peeled and quartered lengthwise into thick wedges
- 4 tablespoons olive oil or 3 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, minced or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Finely grated zest and juice of two lemons (about 1/4 cup juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 3/4 cup broth, chicken or vegetable
- Chopped fresh parsley or dill, plus additional lemon slices or wedges, to finish
- Heat oven to 475°F.
- this spatula is my forever go-to
In a 9×13-inch rimmed sheet pan or deeper baking dish, toss potatoes with olive oil, oregano, salt, zest, and pepper evenly to coat. If using butter, dot it over. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are well-browned underneath. Use a thin spatula* to turn potatoes over, sprinkle in garlic cloves, and return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until mostly browned underneath on the second side. Pour in broth and lemon juice all over and return to the oven a final time for 15 minutes, or until potatoes and garlic cloves are tender and liquids have reduced to a very thin puddle. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving (any remaining liquid will absorb), sprinkle with herbs, and serve with additional lemon wedges.