Tucked away on a particularly bad street in an unlovely part of Prague is a wonderful basement trattoria my wife and I visited last year. The entrance is sprayed with graffiti and next door is a porn shop. We were skeptical. We thought about turning back. We certainly didn’t expect to find a rustic, cozy gem that would stick with us forever. We did, and it was so memorable we went back the same week (on a one-week trip). We had great casual meals, cheap red wine and never felt better.
One of the things we remember from that visit were the potatoes. Just a little plate of pan fried potatoes and fresh rosemary. They were simple and delicious. I make these and try to remember to stick to just that. Simple is so often best.
- Either 12 “baby” potatoes (cut in half), or a few white potatoes (cut into small pieces), washed
- Olive or vegetable oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Rosemary – 1 or 2 fresh sprigs
- Start heating an oven to 400 f.
- Set a skillet over high heat until surface is hot, then add a few tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil.
- Add potatoes and let them sear. They will naturally loosen when browned on the bottom. When they release, turn and let them brown once again on the other side. Season with a big pinch of sea salt, to taste.
- Either place the oven safe pan into the heated oven, or remove potatoes to a safe dish and place in oven.
- Potatoes will finish in the oven in approximately 15 minutes; you may test with a paring knife to check for a softened center. Add a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with fresh rosemary during the last few minutes of cooking.
Some fun ideas: add garlic, shallots, red bell pepper pieces. Or you can do without the oven altogether and finish the fried potatoes in the pan. Just make sure you get the fresh rosemary in last – no one likes dried pine needles.
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