I love these potatoes for spring, but especially for the Easter holiday. I love them because they are only 6 ingredients and deceptively simple, but taste complex. The lemon really shines and the leeks and garlic give all the flavor base you need. You can serve them piping hot or room temperature; they re not fussy. The only caution? Try not to eat them all!
The holidays (even Easter) are usually loaded with activities and food. Spring food can be tricky for availability pending each year's seasonal temperatures, rainfall, weather, and pests. This recipe takes all of that off the table (usually) while letting you bring something delicious TO the table. Lemons are a winter fruit, leeks are available late autumn through early spring, and garlic and potatoes are found year round due to the ease of storage of these vegetables; leading to no "oh, no - I can't find my ingredients!" for your Easter recipes.
Sustainability Spotlight: Building food sourcing and use around sustainability is an important measure of any sustainability effort. We have talked about food waste and how our relationship, as humans, with food supply has caused a lot of the impacts for climate shift, and the disposables, chemicals, and use of our foods have caused pollution and waste accumulation. All of these factors together have changed the planet, and are components of how we modify our approach to food.
An easy / simple step, you can take today and tomorrow and the next and the next is to plan and prepare using foods that are in-season. They may be locally grown and harvested; cutting transportation costs and costs to you as the consumer. Perhaps they are in abundance and using more of these food sources will aid farmers in continuing on profitability metrics in order to grown and produce another season. And for you, the food will look and taste better because it is grown, ready and consumed in a natural timeline, in locales producing the fruit or vegetable in the "right" season for that species.
So many reasons to shop in season and plan a meal around the seasonality of fruits and vegetables and they all benefit you (and the planet). If we cannot shed our human selfishness entirely, at least maybe I can use that little bit of "how does this help me" lingering by convincing you to save some cash, eat better food, and limit your frustration at the store - shopping seasonal is cheaper, tastes better, and will not have you patrolling aisles figuring out how to change your meal plan because your "out of season" ingredient(s) are not at the store.
Maybe we can change to ensure our planet is protected by adding to the narrative of how it helps you; as a human instead of framing it as a lofty goal as saving the planet. Meanwhile, I'll continue on my efforts and we can work together (no matter the motivation) to make meaningful change.
This recipe is one that will have you limiting waste, shopping in season, enjoying a great (vegan!) dish while alleviating stress of holiday cooking (if you are using it for Easter). Stacking the benefits for you; stacking the benefits for the planet.
2.5 lbs creamer (fingerling) potatoes - I used yellow, red & purple (if you use purple, your skins will look dark during crisp - as long as the yellow don't look "burned" you are good to know the purple is not either)
salt to taste (be pretty generous with your pinches as noted below)
olive oil (be pretty generous as noted below)
1/2 of a large leek (slice lengthwise in half - that that half and slice thinly; save the rest for another recipe) - be sure to clean your leek well - add sliced leek to a large bowl of water and massage with hands for a minute or so. Dirt will settle out ot the bottom of the bowl - skim leeks from top & pat try. Save "dirt" water to water your indoor plants.
7 garlic cloves (diced)
1 lemon (juiced)
Set large pot of water (filled ~3-4 inches with water) over medium high heat. In a steamer basket, please all creamer potatoes (whole with skins on); put basket in pot and cover. Let steam ~15-20 minutes until soft (easily pierced with a fork).
Once potatoes are done remove steamer basket (carefully! it's hot) and set aside to allow potatoes to cool slightly so they will not burn your fingers to handle / touch.
With the back of a flat plate or measuring cup, smoosh / smash your potatoes into thick disks. The idea is to expose some of the fluffy interior but still have enough potato skin intact to keep the potatoes in one piece.
In a large cast iron skillet, add 4-5 tbsp olive oil; once it shimmers, swirl. Add 1/2 of the potatoes to the oil with a healthy pinch of salt over all potatoes. Let fry untouched for 5 minutes; add more oil (~2 tbsp) to the top of the potatoes and flip with a spatula. Salt again and fry untouched for another 5 minutes.
Once crisped, remove to a serving platter in a single layer (you don't want the potatoes to steam and lose some crispiness!)
Add another 4-5 tbsp olive oil to the bottom of the cast iron pan and add your leeks and garlic. This time, stir frequently over the 5 minutes.
Add 3/4 of the leek & garlic mixture evenly over the potatoes in your serving tray. Reserve the remaining leeks (I store on my cutting board) for now.
REPEAT STEP 4 with the other half of your potatoes
Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon over the leeks & potatoes in your serving tray, then add the second half of your crisped potatoes over the leeks. Top with the reserved leeks, season again with salt as a final finish and squeeze the other half of the lemon over the whole dish.
This dish is great hot, but can be served at room temperature no problem - a great option for Spring holiday cooking when you need to plan, prep, and cook ahead.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie