The good old potato is nothing to sneeze at, culinarily speaking.
When planning menus, especially holiday or Shabbat dinners — or even “regular” family meals — sometimes I can’t get out of the “meat and potatoes” rut. Well, “meat” is more often chicken or fish these days, and we try to vary things with sophisticated types of rice and different type of noodles.
But the good old potato is nothing to sneeze at: cheap, easy and nutritious. And as long as I still have my old trusty (and rusty!) potato peeler, I’m in good shape.
Try these classics from around the world.
4 medium potatoes
1⁄4 cup canola oil
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375˚. Lightly grease a shallow 8-inch oval baking dish.
Peel potatoes and slice as thinly as possible. Place in a colander and rinse with cold, running water. Drain well and dry with paper towels. Keep covered. Place oil in a shallow bowl.
Starting at the outside rim, place potato slices around the edge, slightly overlapping, in a circle. Continue with concentric circles until the bottom is covered. Brush with oil, salt and pepper.
Add another layer of potato slices and brush again with oil, salt and pepper. Add a third layer of potatoes, then oil, salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about one half-hour.
Loosen edges with a wide spatula and cut into wedges. Serve immediately.
4 large potatoes
1 small red onion
3-4 Tbsps. olive oil
Preheat oven to 375˚.
Half fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in 1⁄2 tablespoon of salt. Peel the potatoes.
Make several parallel slits into each potato, making sure not to slice completely through. Place in the salty water for about 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Pull the slices of each potato gently apart, without separating them. Tuck in red onion pieces.
Place potatoes sliced-side up, in a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, brush with olive oil.
Roast until tops are crispy and potatoes are cooked through, about 1 hour.
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup chicken stock
Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly coat a small baking pan with olive oil.
Layer potatoes and onion in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour stock over potatoes and onion; cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Brush with olive oil and return to oven, uncovered, 10 more minutes to lightly brown potatoes.
2 and 1⁄2 lbs. Yukon gold or all-purpose potatoes
3 cups half-and-half (you may substitute 41⁄2 tablespoons melted butter plus enough whole milk to equal 3 cups; or substitute plain yogurt for part or all)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded Gruyère or other Swiss-type cheese
Preheat oven to 350˚.
Peel potatoes. Slice potatoes very thin with a sharp knife and put them in a medium pot with half-and-half, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Mix well and simmer potatoes for 15 minutes, or until they are just beginning to soften.
Transfer potatoes and half-and-half mixture to a shallow medium casserole. The liquid should come just to the tops of the potatoes. Cover evenly with the shredded cheese.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender and cheese is golden brown.
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.