My dear old (but young at heart) Dad turned 65 yesterday, and what better way to celebrate than with a gourmet dinner?
To clarify: my Dad’s name is Walt. His nickname, which I have no idea how he came by, is Binky.
Yup. Like the a baby’s pacifier.
I love my Dad to death. He’s my pal. My partner in crime. My home-improvement guru. My sounding board. My Dicks’ Drive-In companion on saturday afternoons. And, most importantly, the man from which I learned most of my foodie inclinations.
He’s the one who taught me that butter is not a sin. That a grill is for more than hamburgers. That something as simple as an egg on toast can be a revelation if done right. And that when mom’s not around, you can have anything you want for dinner.
Lucy, are you listening?
So when his big 6-5 was coming around the bend, he had a choice: dinner out at a nice place, or dinner at home done by the three best cooks in the family?
You can guess what he chose. ‘Cause that’s how my Dad rolls.
My lovely Ma pulled out all the stops. Roasted rack of lamb with a garlic and parsley crust…
…which was as tender and perfectly cooked as can be.
On the side, she did a nice broccolini with a balsamic and garlic glaze, and for dessert…
…homemede creme brule. And I got to be the flame-thrower.
And lemme tell ya, this chef’s torch is quite a step up from what we used to use. The propane blowtorch from the garage was a little more dangerous.
But if you’re not in immediate danger of lighting your sweater on fire while preparing dessert, you’re doing it wrong. You gotta keep yourself on your toes in this life.
My other job, and a little more boring than bearer of the dessert flame, was the potatoes. I decided to salt roast them, which gives a nice flavor and keeps ’em super tender. Want to try?
Grab some baby yukon golds. Or baby reds. Whatever makes your skirt fly up. You could use regular sized potatoes too, but I like the mini ones—they’re cuter.
I used about 5 pounds to feed 6 adults with leftovers.
Also grab some parsley. Flat-leaf, please. You’ll need about half of this bunch.
And an ungodly quantity of Kosher salt. Rock salt would work to, if you have it. Also grab your pepper grinder and some olive oil.
Grab a roasting pan and pour in a layer of salt that reaches about a half of an inch up the pan.
Told ya you needed a lot of salt.
Arrange the potatoes on top of the salt—dig ’em in just a tad…
…and roast in a 350° oven for 30-45 minutes (3o if you like your potatoes on the harder side, 45 if you like them soft on the inside).
Pull those taters out of le salt with a fork or some tongs. A tiny bit of salt will be sticking to the bottom. That’s okay. Brush a little off if too much is stuck.
Transfer them to a bowl and toss with enough olive oil to coat.
Chop up about 1/2 cup of parsley…
…and toss it in with the potatoes along with some freshly ground pepper to taste.
Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.
Plus, they’re incredibly tasty and easy to make. The salt roasting infuses the taters with flavor, but they don’t taste salty. They’re just tender, buttery and melt-in-yo-mouth.
These were lovely with the lamb and gave nice color to the plate.
Overall, a fantastic dinner with fantastic company.
Cheers, Dad, and a very happy 65th! But next year, can we use the blowtorch again?
- 5 lbs baby yukon gold potatoes
- 1 lb Kosher salt, or enough for a depth of 1/2″ in a roasting pan
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Wash and dry potatoes. Pour salt into roasting pan, enough to create a depth of at least 1/2″. Arrange potatoes in pan, sinking them into the salt base slightly. Roast for 30-45 minutes. Carefully remove potatoes from salt crust and transfer to a bowl. Coat with olive oil and stir in parsley and pepper. Serve immediately.