Butter-Braised Fingerlings (or Butter Poached)

November 19, 2013
1 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of the Toro Bravo cookbook. For those unfamiliar with the Portland dining scene, Toro Bravo is a local tapas-style restaurant that pays homage to classic Spanish dishes. The food they serve is ah-mazing, and I highly recommend a visit if you're ever in town (though be prepared to wait unless you get there when the doors open). One of the recipes I've tried from the book is for Butter-Braised Turnips with Mojo Picón. The turnips cooked up beautifully in the butter, and I wondered if the same technique would translate to other root vegetables. I gave fingerling potatoes a whirl, and was quite pleased with the result. The potatoes got golden brown and a little crispy outside, and were sweet and creamy inside. I added herbs, garlic, and lemon juice to liven things up. The amount of butter used definitely seems insane, and you may be tempted to decrease it, but I implore you not to; it's necessary for the potatoes to cook through, plus about half of it will remain in the pan when the dish is plated. —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is super easy and quick, with excellent instructions and a delicious finish from the splash of lemon juice at the end. If I had one suggestion, it would be that we would have liked the addition of one or two sliced shallots towards the end (just enough to crisp them up). That would have made this recipe absolutely perfect. —drbabs

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons small sage leaves (or coarsely chopped large ones)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large or 3 medium cloves)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (or sherry or malt vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley and/or minced chives or scallions and/or rosemary or borage blossoms to garnish
  1. Scrub the fingerlings, then cut into approximately 1-inch pieces. The pieces should all be about the same size so they cook at the same rate.
  2. Heat a 12-inch sauté pan (not non-stick) over medium-high heat. Cut the butter in half lengthwise. When the pan is hot, add the butter all at once. It's going to steam, smoke, and start to brown immediately. You may want to panic, but don't—just have an exhaust fan going and proceed quickly. It will work out.
  3. Immediately add the potatoes, even though the butter won't be fully melted. Arrange them in a single layer and season them with salt and pepper. Let them cook without stirring for 4 minutes. Stir, then rearrange in a single layer, turning individual pieces if they have an obviously raw side up. Stir after 2 to 3 minutes, then stir again after another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Test one of the largest pieces. If needed, stir and cook a bit longer. Otherwise push the potatoes to one side of the pan, creating a small space to add the herbs and garlic. Add the sage and rosemary, and allow to fry for 15 to 20 seconds. Add the garlic, and allow to fry for 10 to 15 seconds. Then stir so the herbs and garlic are evenly distributed and the potatoes are in a single layer again. Add the lemon juice, and when it finishes hissing, remove the pan from the heat and give everything a good stir.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish using a slotted spoon or spider. Try to get most of the herbs, but leave most of the butter behind. Garnish as desired, and serve immediately. (They taste delicious at room temperature, but they quickly lose their crispness. Feel free to go this route—I promise, no one will complain!)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • arielleclementine
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • fiveandspice
  • EmilyC
  • hardlikearmour
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

10 Reviews

arielleclementine March 14, 2015
These are outrageous!! The greatest potatoes in the history of the world. I'm obsessed! Thanks HLA!
EmilyC March 14, 2015
Ditto 100%!
hardlikearmour March 14, 2015
Awwww! You two made my day :-)
LeBec F. February 13, 2015
When first seeing this recipe, i thought- now WHAT would be special enough about that to pick it?! But then i saw your name and knew i had to investigate.
Aside from the recipe itself, I LOVE how you have worded the instructions to move the pan contents and fry the herbs. So many cooks don't realize what a difference it makes to toast/saute the herbs and spices.And you perfectly explain a technique for doing it. Congrats!
fiveandspice November 24, 2013
Dang lady! These look delicious! Next time I have both hands free to cook a meal that isn't breakfast, these are going on the menu.
hardlikearmour November 24, 2013
Thank you! I imagine you don't have much hand's free time these days. The potatoes would be great for breakfast along side an egg and greens of some sort ;-)
EmilyC November 19, 2013
I'm so making this, and soon! Love the technique and the way you finish the dish. Can't wait.
hardlikearmour November 19, 2013
You'll have to let me know how you like it! It's hard to go wrong with herbs & garlic on potatoes, and the acid gives it just a little bit of pizzazz.
Muse November 19, 2013
I am the reigning "Potato-aholic" online and all I can say is: "Yummy, yum, yum!"...Peace, Light and Love.
hardlikearmour November 19, 2013
Thank you! They are perfect for a potato-aholic.