These were inspired by the potatoes I ate during my long, cold, wet, dark winter in Torino–the ones that sat underneath the rotisserie chickens in the rotisserie-chicken joint all night long, basting in fat drippings and crisping up in the heat. This version doesn’t call for chickens–but it’s still all about the crispiness.
The big chef’s secret here? The stovetop stage. The potatoes and onions caramelize on the stove before they go back in the oven, so you end up with really crisp, really flavorful hash browns, Urban Italian-style.
- 4 Idaho potatoes
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, cut in half and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. (Use a convection oven if you’ve got one; it’ll cook the potatoes faster and crispier.)
2. Prick the potatoes with a fork (so they don’t blow up), place them on a baking tray, and bake them on the middle rack until a fork goes in easily, about 1 hour. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them rest on the countertop until they’re cool enough to work with.
3. When the potatoes are cool, roughly cut them into large chunks with a small knife.
4. Bring the oven back up to 425°. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large roasting pan. (Pick one that’s safe to use on the stovetop too.) Scatter the onions in the pan and layer the potato chunks on top. Bake uncovered on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, turning the contents every 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften and caramelize.
5. Remove the pan from the oven (leaving the oven on) and cook over high heat on the stovetop for 2 minutes to caramelize the potatoes and onions, being sure to shake the pan or stir the contents every 30 seconds or so to avoid burning.
6. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, pulling the pan out periodically to shake the potatoes around with a spoon. Bits of potato on the bottom of the pan will brown up so they look almost like hash browns. Scrape these little flavor-and-crispiness bombs off the bottom and mix them in with the rest of the potatoes. When the potatoes are finished baking, they will be golden and crispy, with lots of brown bits.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, butter, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and thyme. Stir, and season very liberally with salt and pepper. The potatoes should be crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside- think Italian hash browns. Cook for a few more minutes so the flavors meld. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.