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Martha's Roasted Potatoes with Garlic

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MSL
Recipe Category: Side Dish
Recipe Preparation Level: moderate
    Garlic, ordinarily so sharp and pungent, develops a mellow flavor and a creamy texture when it’s slow-roasted in an oven. Martha rubs roasted garlic paste on potato slices, reassembles them into a whole-potato shape, wraps the reconstructed potato in foil, and puts it in the oven. As roasted garlic caramelizes, it forms a golden crust on the potatoes. Martha came up with this recipe on a camping trip in Saranac Lake, New York, when she roasted the potatoes in the coals of an open fire. But an indoor oven makes a convenient substitute.

    Garlic has long been considered a food that increases physical strength; in fact, the Egyptians fed it to their slaves while building the pyramids. Throughout the centuries, medicinal claims made about it have included curing toothaches, consumption, wounds, and indigestion.

    Many consider the Idaho russet the best variety of baking potato in the United States—its starchy texture holds up well at high temperatures. Though other russet varieties are commonly called “Idaho potatoes,” many state government officials are striving to make the name exclusive to potatoes grown in the Gem State.

    Makes 4 servings

    2 heads garlic
    8 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
    4 large Idaho baking potatoes
    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 bunch fresh thyme

    1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap garlic in foil, and roast until garlic is turning golden and heads are soft, about 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Slice off tip of each head, just enough to expose cloves; press out garlic, using tip of knife to help. Discard garlic skin; transfer garlic to small bowl. Add 4 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Make a paste using the back of a spoon.

    2. Raise oven temperature to 475 degrees. Slice each potato crosswise into one-inch-thick pieces. Spread a generous amount of paste on each slice; reassemble potato, pressing so the potatoes stick together. Set potato on a piece of foil, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste. Wrap potato tightly in foil; repeat process with the other potatoes. Bake potatoes in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet until they are soft and have a caramelized roasted-garlic crust on the bottom, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve crust-side-up on a bed of fresh thyme.

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