These grilled potatoes are a big hit among our friends.
We learned how to make them when visiting family homes in Lebanon, where our hosts prepared them on heating stoves that doubled as ovens and cookers, and at Maguy’s, a fish restaurant in the city of Batroun, where they made them on a charcoal grill. It’s very simple: Thinly slice the potatoes and generously sprinkle them with salt. Then grill or bake them in a dry skillet or on an outdoor grill. No need to precook them. The result is a nicely charred potato that hasn’t lost its crunch, which is delicious. The salsa verde with preserved lemon simply invited itself to the menu.
6 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch basil
½ bunch mint
1 bunch cilantro
½ preserved lemon, store-bought or homemade
(see recipe below)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
¾ cup fruity green olive oil
Here is the classic method for making preserved lemons. Quarter 4 lemons but don’t cut through all the way – leave the parts connected. Sprinkle each lemon with a full spoon of coarse sea salt. Pack the lemons to the top of a clean jar that has been scalded in hot water. Keep in a cool, dark place and, after some liquid has accumulated, add a generous splash of orangeblossom water. Leave for another few weeks before using.
Slice the unpeeled potatoes lengthwise. Heat a dry skillet and grill the potato slices for a few minutes on either side, until they get brown blisters. Don’t cook them all the way; they should be a bit crispy.
Remove the pulp from the preserved lemon and cut the peel into fine slices. Using a hand blender, mash the herbs, preserved lemon, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil and season with salt. Serve the potatoes with the salsa verde.