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Our Test Kitchen Chef's Crispy, Cheesy, Weeknight Comfort Food

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Inspired by Comté's ancient production methods and its varied cheesemakers, we're sharing our Test Kitchen Chef's favorite lazy, cozy way to potatoes.

Josh Cohen has been our Test Kitchen Chef for just about a year now, and not so surprisingly, his job entails a lot more than just cooking. He runs the kitchen on our editorial and Shop shoot days, which can range to staging a seafood boil mid-winter to clocking in for holiday shoots way before the start of fall. It means things like Saturday shoots, cooking for our smashing events, dreaming up recipes for great feasts, and stocking our pantry and fridges, all in a not-so-normal kitchen atmosphere.

First Look at the New Food52 Office, Brought to You by #MOVE52
First Look at the New Food52 Office, Brought to You by #MOVE52

Our test kitchen isn’t designed to feel like a commercial one that you’ll find in a restaurant, but more like what a home cook might be using on an everyday basis. Because of this, Josh says that he finds himself “really thinking more about the home cook, and the challenge of feeding a family during a busy week.” What’s struck him, looking back over the last year, is that many of the recipes he first published on the site are definitely for special occasions, big wow-ers for parties and such. And, in general, they’re not what he’s cooking these days—like most, he’s too busy or tired to take on complex recipes on the average weeknight.

Potatoes and cheese for dinner? Sign me up.
Potatoes and cheese for dinner? Sign me up. Photo by Alpha Smoot

So, for those flop-down-into-a-chair nights, the ones when you can barely muster a fried egg, Josh shared with me the recipe for one of his most simple comfort foods—Elena’s Crispy Potatoes with Comté. He credits the recipe to Elena, his fiancée and a former cheesemonger, because she made them for him on one of those busy, normal weeknights, and she’s also the one who introduced him to really high-quality Comté.

Called a recipe only because it requires just a little bit of instruction the first time around before it becomes second nature, Josh explains that it’s savory, satisfying, and easy to make, with little crispy bits around the edges. “These potatoes are what I want to eat when I come home after a long day of working in the kitchen,” he adds.

Elena's Crispy Potatoes with Comté
Elena's Crispy Potatoes with Comté

The key is to have patience to get the fingerlings truly crispy. If you have to ask yourself if they are crispy enough, then they are not, Josh says. Once they're beautifully crisped on both sides, then it’s time to shower them with Comté (extra, if you’re me) and cover them for a few minutes to make sure it gets melty. Hit the pan with some fresh thyme, and serve them up immediately.

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Elena's Crispy Potatoes with Comté

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Serves 2-3 people
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes (the smaller the better)
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter (plus extra for if/when your skillet looks dry)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 to 2 ounces Comté cheese, finely grated on a microplane

Comté can make a meal—and in some instance, be a main dish!—so we're sharing comforting, simple ways to cook with or serve the storied cheese.

Tags: comte, jura