Brabant Potatoes

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by Frank Davis

wwltv.com

Posted on September 13, 2010 at 1:38 PM

4 large white potatoes (the very starchy ones with no green skin visible)
2 cups peanut oil
2 sticks sweet cream butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 cloves garlic, mashed and minced 
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 
 
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Then while it’s coming up to proper heat, scrub the potatoes well with a food brush under cold running water.  

Next, cut them into large dice (about 1/2-inch).  Then wash them again thoroughly, pat them totally dry with absorbent paper towels or several cloth kitchen towels, and set them out to dry for about 10 minutes or so.  

Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil to between 375 and 400 degrees in a large, heavy fry pan or skillet (I love my cast iron for this!).  Then gently drop in the dried potatoes a batch at a time and fry them down until they turn a very light brown color.  When that happens, take a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove them from the skillet, and let them drain.

At this point arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a shallow baking sheet (a piece of parchment paper helps along the browning process). Then in a 2-quart saucepan, combine the butter and the olive oil and melt them together over a medium–low heat.  When the blend is hot, stir in the garlic and the parsley and simmer only until the combination becomes fragrant.  

All that’s left to do now is remove the pan of flavored olive oil and butter from the fire, spoon a little more than half of it evenly over the layer of potatoes, slide the baking sheet into the oven, and bake for about 10 minutes (or until the ‘taters become crisp and turn a medium-dark brown).  Then serve the potatoes right from the oven and crown with an extra spoonful or so of the flavored butter you reserved.

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Chef’s Notes:

Named for a municipality in Flemish Brabant, Belgium.  These potatoes were originally poor peoples’ fare, but they took on a newfound elegance from France to New Orleans as they were matched with elegant entrees.

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