The bright lemon flavor of this Lemon-Garlic Yukon Gold Potato Smash gives it a summery feel. (The Detroit News / Maureen Tisdale)
I can’t remember how long it’s been since my husband raved about something I made, but Sunday I hit that sweet spot with a recipe I’m just sure I’ve made him before (but you’d never know it from his reaction to it).
FINALLY, something to Let’s Talk Food about: this bright, flavor-charged Lemon-Garlic Yukon Gold Potato Smash. I don’t usually think of potato as much of a summer food, since I’m not a huge potato salad person, but the sunshiny flavor and appearance of these taters is an exception — plus an opportunity to ask you about your best summer potato recipes.
This is such a good side dish for any guy who likes simple, strong flavors; not only did my husband go on about it, a while back I made it for a friend’s husband who has similar simple/strong taste preferences as part of a package of meals for the family when they welcomed a new baby into the home, and it was a hit there too.
Lemon is definitely the standout flavor here (though the olive oil and garlic also make their presences known) so if you don’t like it, these may not be for you. Then again, lemon definitely is not my husband’s favorite; he disparages lemon or lime desserts, and pleasantly refused to even try the lemon-heavy salad dressing I made mimicking one at a Middle Eastern restaurant we like. Yet he went on and on about how these potatoes were “fantastic” (that’s my favorite word to get out of him about something I cook), how the flavor was so strong that while potato is usually something he uses to pad out stronger flavors, these needed to be enjoyed on their own.
By the by, if you are more the type to adore lemon any which way, come back to Eats & Drinks Thursday — Kate has a unique lemon dessert coming your way.
Meanwhile, this may just be my rut-burn talking (as I shared in last week’s column, I’ve been in a bit of a slump and it really didn’t end — if it has indeed ended — until Sunday), but I’m not sure I see much on the horizon, Let’s-Talk-Food-wise. The week will be dominated by a busy patch at work and at home, where my son’s second birthday party — pretty much an excuse for a big ol’ old-school backyard barbeque (for which a friend of my husband’s will handle the grill) — and a visit from family will rule the roost. Then again, my mother-in-law often has a little something up her sleeve, food-wise (see her Healthier Chocolate Muffins or Baked Oatmeal in previous Let’s Talk Foods).
And hey, if even that well’s dry this visit, at least these potatoes gave me lemon-bright hope there’s an “other side” to my slump.
What are your best summer potato dishes? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below the recipe. You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re easy to sign up for, and free. Over the next few days, Detroit News Food Editor Maureen Tisdale will respond to comments or questions. You also can follow her on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!
Lemon-Garlic Yukon Gold Potato Smash
I didn’t note where I got this recipe from years ago, but doughnuts to dollars it was Rachael Ray — I was a huge fan back in the era before she was everywhere. I couldn’t confirm via Google, though; in any case, I’ve adapted it just a touch. The original recipe called for 5 pounds of potatoes, which is far better for a huge crowd than for a family of three; the next size down of gold potatoes I found was a 3-pound bag, so that helped me modify this. It still made enough to serve us for days, which is good as even our son, who tends to animatedly exclaim “all done!” when presented with potatoes, gobbled some up. It’s worth noting these definitely wouldn’t be a good side to just anything (I wrinkle my nose at the thought of them on, say, a Thanksgiving or Easter table). But they were just right for the lemon-dill salmon and asparagus I served them with Sunday, or the citrus-marinated chicken I made them with previously.
5 quarts water
3 pounds gold (i.e. Yukon gold, though some are just marked gold) potatoes, small or cut into reasonable chunks
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1.5 lemons
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Bring to a boil, then add 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender.
Drain the water, then return the potatoes to the pot. Add the rest of the salt, the pepper, the olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice and smash, mixing thoroughly.