Roasted Parmesan Peppercorn Potatoes

I tend to suffer from kid-in-the-candy-store syndrome when it’s time to plan a menu. When I’m just sitting there thinking about what I’d like to have, I don’t even know where to start.

Sometimes it helps to just go to the market and see what looks good. “Ooh, nice looking red peppers, what can I do with those?” But they tend to always have the same things in stock. (Hopefully this will change as we start seeing more local, in-season produce.)

But what really clarifies my thinking is looking in the fridge to see what leftovers I’ve got to work with. Believe it or not, constraints help creative thinking. When I see a bit of something, and it’s not enough for a whole meal on its own, but it’s already been in there for a while … man, there’s got to be a way to use that.

What’s especially cool is when a semi-failed experiment ends up as the key to a great new dish. Like this one.

Ingredients

3½ pounds russet potatoes
one cup sour-cream onion dip
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Wash the potatoes, but don’t peel them. Okay, peel them if you want, but I don’t think you need to. And I hate peeling potatoes. So don’t, okay? Just try it. (And the vitmains are in the skin … better for you … eat your vegetables … blah blah blah … This nag brought to you by my mother-in-law, the nurse.)

Quarter the potatoes lengthwise, then dice into bite-sized pieces.

If you’ve got monster taters that are the size of small animals, you might need to cut more than quarters lengthwise.

Put the cut potatoes in a large bowl.

Add the onion dip, and mix from the bottom.

Add about a teaspoon of salt and twice that of black pepper — I like pepper … a lot … you might want to start with a little less the first time — and mix it again.

Now cut a goodly sized hunk of Parmesan and shred it into the potatoes. Then, you guessed it, mix again.

Spread the potatoes out on an unlined, non-greased baking sheet.

Put in a 350° oven, either in the center, or two slots above the corn on the cob you put in before you started on the potatoes. Yeah, baby, two dishes in the oven at once … woo, I rock! (Okay, I’m easily impressed.)

Pull once after about 10-15 minutes and turn everything over with a spatula. This step is mostly to make sure nothing is getting too burned on to the pan, so don’t obsess about getting every single piece turned over. (Yes, I have to remind myself not to obsess.)

Go for another 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown.

And that’s it.

This basic idea can be modified with just about any combination of seasonings you like. What’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.


I’ve got a couple tips for stocking your pantry coming up, before wrapping up the week with yet another episode of “What Can I Grill Next?” It’s a slight twist on a classic, and something I mentioned in passing a while back. Sign up using the form at the top of the column to the right to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Roasted Parmesan Peppercorn Potatoes

Roasted Parmesan Peppercorn Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3½ pounds russet potatoes
  • one cup sour-cream onion dip
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Wash the potatoes, but don't peel them. Cut into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine with onion dip and salt and pepper. Don't be afraid of the pepper, it works really well with the Parmesan. Mix in half the cheese.

Spread the potatoes out on an un-lined baking sheet. Put in a 350° oven.

Pull once after about 10-15 minutes and turn everything over with a spatula. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Cook another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.