mussels and crispy rosemary roasted potatoes

We’ve just been looking for excuses to make these rosemary roasted potatoes from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook—and mussels and fries is a pretty classic combination.  I made these potatoes for the first time a few weeks ago and they are wonderful. The larger chunks will approximate the best french fries you’ve ever had, the smaller mashed pieces will brown into amazingly crispy potato chips. The best part—you don’t have to stand in front of a vat of fry oil to make them.

Mussels in White Wine and Herb Broth
1 lb mussels, scrubbed with beards removed
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/2 cup broth or water
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon chili flake
salt, pepper, olive oil

In a large stock pot, saute the onion in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the white wine, broth and herbs and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

When you’ve got about 10 minutes left on the potatoes, add the mussels to the broth. Give it a stir and cover. Stir every few minutes to rotate the mussels. When most of the mussels have opened, they’re done. Pour mussels and broth into a large dish to serve.

Crispy Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers

1 1/2 lbs yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1 – 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 1″ chunks. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Season the water liberally with salt. When you taste the water, it should be well-seasoned. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and return to the pot.

Strip the leaves from the rosemary and crush lightly. Add them to the warm potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat. Some of the potato chunks will break apart and some of the smaller pieces will become mashed. This is good news. Pour the potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes, until crispy and browned. Toss or flip the potatoes a few times while cooking so they brown evenly.  Trust me, this blanche then roast method is worth the extra step.



potato hash with onion, tomato and egg

It feels good to pull of a satisfying dinner without putting in much thought or effort or really even grocery shopping. I threw this dish together on Tuesday night with the remaining contents of our CSA, plus some leftover produce from Monday night’s dinner. It was pretty awesome. And, when you feel like your haphazard dinner isn’t substantial enough, just throw an egg on it.

Potato Hash with Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and a Fried Egg
3 – 4 potatoes, cut into small cubes (we used a combo of yukon gold and purple potatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt, pepper, paprika or piment d’espelette
1/4 onion, sliced (we used 3 small bunching onions)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 T parsley, chopped  (you could use any herb you have lying around – chives, basil, dill, cilantro)
2 eggs
butter, salt, pepper

Heat an oven to 375 degrees. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and toss with the olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Spread into one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

When the potatoes have about 10 more minutes to cook, begin to saute the onions in a little olive oil over low heat. Saute until just translucent, about 7 – 8 minutes. Push the onions to the side of the pan and add a little butter. Once the foaming has subsided, add the eggs. Cook your eggs until the whites have set up and sprinkle them with some salt and pepper. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Place a layer of potatoes on the plate. Top with the onions and then the egg. Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes and herbs.

This dish is homey and satisfying. You hit almost all of the flavor bases … crunchy (potatoes), salty (potatoes again), creamy (egg yolk – yum!), tart (tomatoes). It is also filling, inexpensive and pretty low maintenance to cook.  Plus,  you could make a ton of variations on this same idea depending on what is lurking in your fridge or in your fruit bowl. Asparagus? Summer squash?  I don’t mind if I do!


Ps. Why oh why have I wanted sing some sort of bizarre variation on Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” the entire time I’ve been writing this post … If you like it then you better put an egg on it!?! Oh boy, I need help.


roastie toasties

Sunday was all about trying new recipes and I’ve had my eye on this one in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook for a while. The recipe is really simple and Judy claimed the potatoes were absolutely delicious, especially when they are hot out of the oven. I am happy to say that salty, crinkly skin on these potatoes, plus the generous dollop of creme fraiche we topped them with, makes roastie toasties a wonderful side dish.

Roastie Toastie Potatoes, adapted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook
12 small potatoes, we used a mixture of red and white fingerlings
1 – 4 lb box rock salt
Creme fraiche, for serving

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Fill a oven-safe dish with 1/2 inch of rock salt. Arrange the potatoes on the salt so that they are not touching. Cover them with more salt. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Unearth the potatoes, brush of the salt and serve with creme fraiche, or other potato topping of your choosing.

Note: It is important to use rock salt in this preparation. If you use a finer grain salt, the potatoes will end up salty all the way through, instead of just getting a pleasant, salty crust. You can also reuse the salt for your next batch of roastie toasties, or for serving oysters all fancy-like, or for making ice cream!