Need to bulk up your meal? Try these roasted potato slices for a crunchy, aromatic side dish
KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Weekend meals can take a lot of planning or they can come together spontaneously. Often I fall into the latter category, deciding on what to cook based on whatever is handy in the fridge and pantry.
Which is to say, sometimes we fall short and the meal looks far from substantial. Certainly not enough to satisfy a raging appetite resulting from a Sunday gym workout or an hours-long binge on whichever wretched streaming service we subscribe to.
Back to the larder, then.
Remember to peel your potatoes before slicing them.
What else can we conjure up from whatever we have in store? A few potatoes, still good but needing attention soon. The usual staples of oils and sauces, spices and herbs.
Rather than add on to the main dish, why not cook an entirely separate side with what we have? It doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful.
With the ingredients we have now, what’s easier than some roasted potato slices? Crispy in the right places and savoury all over, this baked dish begs to be made. Here is how.
ROASTED POTATO SLICES
If you wonder how it is possible to get such thin and uniform potato slices without them breaking apart, the trick is simply to eschew the knife altogether. Unless you’re a professional chef with remarkable knife skills, cutting by hand is always going to be a hit-and-miss affair.
Use more garlic if you enjoy their aromatic pungency.
Instead, use a mandoline — the sort you might use for other vegetables. This will ensure an even thickness and speedier slicing process. Just watch your fingers as the potato runs out!
For seasoning, really you needn’t go beyond salt and pepper. However, I find experimenting with spices and herbs a fun prospect, if only to see what works for you.
Here I am celebrating the pungency of five-spice powder and the toasty piquancy of smoked paprika. A dash of fish sauce in lieu of salt (we will use coarse sea salt alongside freshly ground black pepper to finish the dish once it’s out of the oven) adds a savouriness you didn’t know you wanted.
Sea salt has more flavour.
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon five-spice powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
A dash of fish sauce
Some fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to finish
Black peppercorns, before being ground.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Using a mandoline, thinly slice the peeled potatoes.
Transfer the potato slices to a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, five-spice powder, smoked paprika, fish sauce and fresh thyme. Toss thoroughly till well-combined; each slice of potato should be coated with the entire mixture.
Pour the seasoned potato slices onto a greased baking tray. Spread the potato slices evenly; slight overlapping is fine, however.
The best bits are the crispy parts.
Bake in the preheated oven until potato slices are golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. You might want to turn the slices midway to ensure even browning; they will still be crisper in some spots than others.
Remove from the oven when done and season immediately with salt and pepper whilst still hot. Allow to cool for a few minutes to complete the crisping process, then serve alongside a main dish such as steaks or roast chicken.
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