Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Ninety-Seven: Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking

by Michael Chiarello

Named after the famous restaurant Da Delfina in Italy.

I was browsing through my cookbooks looking for something to make for dinner (main course) when I came upon this recipe.

I was on a hunt for something in the healthy spectrum, and normally I cringe shy away from any recipe that is deep fried. However, I could not resist the photo in the book, and I justified making these being we had Raw Kale Coleslaw for dinner on Monday, and Grilled Portobello Burgers (normally made with pesto mayo and provolone - this evening I used pesto only and subbed goat cheese) on Tuesday. I figured we could splurge today, this a side dish after-all, along with tonight's dinner of grilled chicken and an arugula strawberry salad.

Mr. Chiarello says to serve these with a simple roasted meat, and they will steal the show; and that they did. 

Success meter (1-3):

 Pick out the smallest Yukon Gold potatoes you can find.

 It took about eight medium sized garlic cloves to attain one-quarter cup chopped garlic.

The instructions say to remove the garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon - this will not work with chopped garlic. I poured the garlic from the pan into a sieve placed over a bowl.

 Mix the sautéed garlic into the parsley and lemon mixture.

 I chose to use a glass to smash the potatoes rather than using my hands as instructed.

 You want to smash the potatoes just till the skins split.

Pour half-inch of peanut oil into a fry pan and cook on both sides till crispy - darker the better. I did not have peanut oil and subbed grapeseed and walnut oil, and only poured about a quarter inch. I may try making these again with just coating the pan with oil instead of deep frying - then again maybe not; why mess with a good thing.

 Remove potatoes from oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

The recipe states to toss the potatoes in the parsley-lemon mixture. I felt the potatoes were to fragile to be tossed so instead I sprinkled the "gremolata" on top, which you will want to be generous with it's so good.

 These are heavenly - the potatoes are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Potatoes “Da Delfina”
Serves 4

1 ½ pounds (about 16) small “creamer” potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
Peanut oil
Sea salt, preferably gray salt, and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ chopped garlic (about 8 medium-sized cloves)

Put the potatoes in a large pot of cold, well-salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until a knife slips in easily, 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When they are cool enough to handle, hold one between your hands as if you were clapping and press gently with the heel of one hand. You want to smash the potato to about a ½-inch thickness while keeping it in one piece. The skin will split, but the potato should not fall apart. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. You can prepare the potatoes to this point several hours ahead.

Pour ½-inch of peanut oil in a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat.

When the oil begins to smoke, carefully put the smashed potatoes in the oil and cook on both sides until crisp and well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper.

While the potatoes cook, combine the parsley and lemon zest in a serving bowl. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over moderately high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to the bowl with the parsley-lemon mixture.

When the potatoes are ready, add them to the garlic mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately. Save the leftover garlic oil and use it to dress a salad or vegetables the following day.

Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking/Michael Chiarello


  1. Ooh, what tasty looking smashed potatoes!

  2. Thanks for posting this.This is awesome!!

  3. Oh yum! I have to try these too!

  4. Cathleen, these "smashed potatoes" look so good - I love these kinds of recipes, I made a similar recipe twice after I saw this potato side dish in a cooking show but they certainly did not look nearly as delicious as yours and I also really like the side salad of strawberries with arugula and goat cheese - I tried it with baby spinach and adored the flavor combinations. Thanks so much for reminding me of these lovely recipes and I will certainly go with your versions next time!
    Have a lovely Monday!


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