Herb-Roasted Hasselbacks

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Last Thursday I visited the Daley Plaza Farmer's Market over lunch and came away with quite a haul: Heirloom tomatoes, purple bell peppers, sunflowers, fresh basil, smoked string cheese, a LaBriola whole grain loaf and a beautiful selection of potatoes.

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These pretty yellow, red and purple potato varieties came from Nichols Farm & Orchard.  This family run farm is from Marengo, Illinois -- quite near where I grew up.  They sell their produce at several farmer's markets in the Chicagoland area.

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I'm a sucker for the $5 cookbooks that can be found in piles near the register in bookstores, especially when they cover a finite topic. A few months ago I purchased Potatoes by Annie Nichols and decided to try one of her recipes.

Bay-Roasted Hasselback Potatoes

(adapted from Annie Nichols)

Serves 2 as a side dish

Ingredients:

8 small potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed

12 fresh bay leaves

1 Tbl butter

2 Tbl olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F

Place two chopsticks on either side of a potato and make crosswise cuts about 1/4 inch apart.  The potatoes will fan open as they cook, but you want the base of the potato to remain intact so they will not fall apart.  Insert whole or partial bay leaves between a few of the cuts and repeat with the remaining potatoes.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or roasting pan over moderate heat. Add the garlic and the potatoes in a single layer.  Gently move the potatoes around for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and generously salt and pepper.

Place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown and tender.

This simple method of roasting potatoes produced very delicate and colorful results.  You could substitute any fresh herbs for the bay leaves.  My favorite herb to use with potatoes is fresh rosemary, and that is what I will use with this recipe in the future.

Holland, Michigan

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