Salt & Vinegar Russets

Autumn 2016
food and drink

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

Russets, a starchy potato, get particularly crispy with this method. These scrumptious tangy potatoes belie the ease with which they are prepared. Sprinkle them with fresh herbs that match the meat or poultry being grilled to serve alongside. While the recipe is for grilling on a preheated barbecue, the potatoes can also be broiled in the oven (see TIP).

2¼ lbs (1.125 kg) russet potatoes, about 4 large
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed but intact
1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) malt vinegar (also sold as barley vinegar)
Coarse salt

1 Scrub potatoes and prick in several places with a skewer. Arrange in a circle in microwave; microwave 10 minutes, turning once, or until a skewer can be easily inserted but encounters some resistance. Cool until able to handle or for several hours.

2 Cut potatoes lengthwise so the halves are as flat as possible. Using a sharp knife, score about ½ inch (1 cm) deep in a criss-cross patternabout the same distance apart. Do not slash skins. Place in a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer (do not use a metal pan).

3 Microwave olive oil and garlic for 25 to 30 seconds or until hot. In another container, add salt to vinegar; microwave 20 seconds or until hot. Stir to dissolve salt; then mix oil and vinegar together.

4 Lightly brush oil and vinegar mixture over potato slits. Grill over low to moderate barbecue heat, starting skin-side down for 5 minutes.Brush slits again; immediately return to grill slit-side down. Grill another five minutes. Continue brushing slits with more oil mixture as needed for another 5 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. Brush again before serving.

5 Sprinkle potatoes with pinches of coarse salt. Serve right away with grilled steaks, chops or chicken. Pass a shaker of malt vinegar for those who like extra tang.

Makes 8 halves, from 4 to 6 servings