Controversial as this may be, I am not a ride-or-die potato fan. I don’t think I’ve ever chosen the mashed potatoes in the Thanksgiving buffet, and while I’ve tried really hard to like baked potatoes, I simply don’t enjoy them. At the same time, I LOVE potatoes with lots of crispy texture and golden color – french fries (well done please), latkes, tater tots – and these scrumptious EXTRA crispy roasted potatoes.
In culinary school I learned that the crispiest roasted potatoes require a partial cook in simmering water. This is called a parboil. It’s a very short simmer, under ten minutes, until just tender. And to get the most bang for your buck, rough ‘em up to increase the surface area as much as possible. Makes sense if you think about it – more edges, bits and cracks in the potatoes means more edges, bits and cracks to get brown and crunchy.
I could eat these potatoes in a million different ways. As is, with just ketchup, or heavily spiced with chipotle powder and cumin before roasting. These guys are great for potato nachos or covered in pesto. For this particular recipe I’m going with a Fried Sage Aioli. Why? Because it’s a week from Thanksgiving and doesn’t that just scream holiday table?
The sage aioli is cashew-based and super simple. I gently fry fresh sage leaves and garlic cloves in olive oil. For the aioli, I use a bit of the infused olive oil along with the fried sage and garlic, along with cashews, water, salt & lemon juice. And finally, to take it to the next level, I use the remaining infused sage oil to coat the potatoes before they roast. Does that not sound incredible?
Extra Crispy Roasted Potatoes & Sage Aioli
3 lbs Yukon gold or waxy baby potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
.5 oz fresh sage leaves, chopped*
2 cloves garlic, peeled and gently crushed
3/4 cups raw cashews, soaked
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Add olive oil, chopped sage leaves and garlic cloves to a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-low. When the oil begins to sizzle, gently simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat immediately, and strain out oil (keeping both the oil and the fried sage/garlic).
For the potatoes, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut potatoes into one- or two-bite pieces (don’t peel them!). Transfer to a large pot with 2 teaspoons salt and add water to cover the potatoes by 1-2 inches. Partially cover and bring to boil, reduce to low heat. Gently simmer potatoes uncovered for 5-8 minutes, or until a sharp knife is easily inserted into a potato and easily removed. Drain potatoes and return to hot pot to dry out.
Transfer potatoes to a large parchment lined baking sheet and gently smash and rough-up each potato to increase the surface area. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons sage-infused oil for the aioli, then drizzle potatoes with 3-4 tablespoons of the remaining oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Gently toss.
Bake potatoes for 20-25 minutes. Flip and rearrange. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until desired crispiness is reached.
While potatoes cook make the aioli. Using a blender, combine soaked/drained cashews with 1/2 cup water, the fried garlic cloves, 1-2 tablespoons of the sage-infused oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, adding more water as needed. Add in the fried sage leaves and blend until the sage leaves are chopped and incorporated. Stir in fresh lemon juice to taste.
.5 oz sage leaves is a big handful of leaves, or about 3-4 sprigs worth or leaves.
Can’t find sage? Use 3 sprigs worth of rosemary leaves instead.
This recipe makes 4-6 servings.