The WFP: Greek Mahogany Potatoes

By • September 25, 2011 • 20 Comments

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Author Notes: These potatoes have evolved.
Dubbed "World Famous Potatoes" by my daughter (as in, "will you be bringing the world famous potatoes to Hannah's house?"), their initial incarnation was granted me by my former hairdresser. John, of Greek Orthodox extraction, and I used to compare our Easter and Passover menus as I was deftly shorn and styled. He taught me the secrets of Avgolimono soup, though I have yet to take that plunge. The idea for this recipe came from him. I'm not even sure whether his instructions called for initial boiling or roasting; the Yukon Golds were my first alteration. I only remember the lemon and onions, and the directive to "use more salt than you think you'll need", intoned with an air of quiet authority. I went home and roasted, with good results. Over time, minor errors stacked up and made what to me was an even better potato: a wedge, accidentally flipped upside down, produced a crisper crust. I lost track of time and overcooked them. Some recipes are more about guidelines than about measurements. This is one of those recipes. You can make more or less to suit your taste, you can use more or less onions. But they should be pretty tangy with lemon juice and salt, which rounds out the flavor.
creamtea

Food52 Review: This is one of those "you gotta have faith" dishes -- yes, the potatoes will eventually turn mahogany; yes, contact with the hot potatoes will cook the onions just enough so that they lose their rawness but retain a nice bite; yes, you won't regret using a generous handful of salt. Be sure to allow yourself several hours' cooking time, throw in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, and don't hesitate to pull the potatoes before they're truly mahogany if dinnertime is fast approaching and you're satisfied with their heft and flavor. - KukharkaKukharka

Serves variable; 5 lbs. of potatoes serves 8 -12

  • 5 pounds small to medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Juice from about 1 to 1 1/2 lemons, strained
  • 1 to 2 onions, depending on size, diced small (1 very large, 2 to 3 smallish onions, regular or sweet vidalia-type
  • Sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Wash the potatoes and cut into wedges from pole to pole (cut in half and half again, but do not peel)
  2. Pour a generous swirl of oil into each of several roasting pans. Tilt to coat the bottoms thoroughly with the oil. You will need a goodly amount because they tend to stick. I use 2 pans plus a heavy 12-inch cast iron skillet for 5 pounds of potatoes. The skillet cooks fastest and makes the very best brown crust.
  3. One by one, put the potato quarters cut side down in the pans. Rotate each wedge around its pole so all sides are coated with the oil (or rub onto all sides). End with the cut sides down-important. Place them in neat rows; you can fit a few more by angling each row of wedges first one way, then the other, herringbone-style.
  4. Place the pans in the oven and roast. Do not turn the wedges nor shake the pan. Leave them alone. Roasting time is dependent on your pans. You want a really good deep brown color on the cut edges that are in contact with the pan, at least for many of the wedges. Don't just stop at tan. (Okay, several will be tan; some should go mahogany). Start checking after an hour, according to your oven. This may take awhile.
  5. While the potatoes are roasting, dice the onions.
  6. As soon as you take the potatoes out of the oven, blanket them with the onions, the juice and a good amount of salt, scrape them from the bottom of the pan and toss everything together. This may have to occur in stages as each pan finishes cooking. If you use cast iron, you may want to remove the potatoes to a large bowl first to avoid getting acid on the pan. The retained heat of the potatoes will start to cook the onions. Taste for seasoning. Turn into a serving bowl. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Still good the next day.
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Comments (20) Questions (2)

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about 1 month ago Susan W

My greek Yia Yia used to make potatoes very similar to these. I never found out how she did it because I thought it was a no brainer. I never figured it out, but I think you did. I have always blanched the potatoes to 3/4 done and I think that's where I went wrong. I like the idea of cooking them from raw. My YY was never shy with the olive oil so I think that is another important piece. I'll use my fabulous duck fat and sprinkle them with fresh dill at the lemon and onion phase. Can't wait!!

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about 1 month ago creamtea

Thanks, Susan! I hope you like them. Just wondering whether the dill addition is also a traditional addition?

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about 1 month ago Susan W

My Yia Yia used dill, oregano and mint a lot. It was at least traditional in her potatoes. :0) I'll ask my mom if the other Greeks in the community did.

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over 1 year ago smccassell

Made these last night. Crispy, salty, acid and pillowy all rolled into one bite. These will be a go to item for the future. Even my friends who don't want "fancy, schmancy" foods will ask for more. Thank you for sharing this receipe!

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over 1 year ago creamtea

So glad you tried it, smccassell! I also made a batch 2 nights ago.

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over 2 years ago sbf-ct

Oh I can't WAIT to try this tonight! Potatoes are a staple in our house.. and we were in need of a new take!

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over 2 years ago creamtea

I hope you like it!

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almost 2 years ago sbf-ct

Oh.. not only did we LOVE them, but they are now a staple in the repertoire. :) In fact, I often bring them to my in-laws for holiday dinners (and this is a family to whom I essentially had to prove my salt as a cook, and have yet to be allowed to bring much besides a potato side dish!). Thanks, thanks, thanks!

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over 1 year ago creamtea

you're so welcome!

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almost 3 years ago JohnWhorfin

I've done something similar, but used goose or duck fat in the roasting pan, and I like to blanch the potatoes briefly and toss them with semolina flour for an extra crispy crust. Think I will use your technique with the semolina or blanching.

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almost 3 years ago creamtea

Let me know how they come out; I'm sure they will be great with your additions. I'm wondering if they will shrink down less with the blanching...

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almost 3 years ago LMurphy

Wow ! Who would have thought - Lemon Potatoes ? These were absolutely delicious. I had a small basket of red potatos at home, a lemon, an onion ( not sweet) and thought I'd try it. My husband ate most of them before I had dinner on the table because he couldn't stop 'tasting' them. These are super and will certainly be on my list of favorite sides....I don't even really like potatoes and these were fabulous ! Thanks very much for sharing a simple recipe with anything but simple taste results !! I'm making them for the Christmas pot luck Friday !

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almost 3 years ago creamtea

LMurphy, so glad you and your husband liked them! I hope your fellow revellers liked them too. I may try them next with red potatoes too!

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almost 3 years ago linzarella

Made this last night, adding some whole, unpeeled garlic cloves to the pan. It was pronounced by everyone to be the best potatoes we had ever tasted. I've never really been a potato fan, but I think this just might have converted me.

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almost 3 years ago creamtea

so happy! I'm so glad you gave them a chance :)

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about 3 years ago wssmom

These have made it firmly into the dinner rotation. The only change I made was in using fingerling potatoes, which I halved and put cut-side down on the cast iron skillet throughout the cooking process. Thanks again for a great recipe!

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about 3 years ago creamtea

You're welcome! Thanks for letting me know. I'm so happy you tried them and enjoyed them.

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about 3 years ago creamtea

wssmom and EmilyC, I hope you try them.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

oooo, this sounds good!

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about 3 years ago EmilyC

What a great twist on potato wedges, which I love!