So often, the simplest things are the best, especially now as the long winter yields (grudgingly, this year) to spring. Dinner tonight couldn’t be more elemental: a double-thick strip steak grilled over charcoal, pan-roasted local asparagus, and these fragrant, clay-baked potatoes.
We try to keep our cookware collection carefully edited; higher quality than we can really afford, and with as few “one-pot-wonders” (or is that “one-wonder-pots”?) as possible. So, for us to recommend a somewhat uncommon cooking vessel is, well, uncommon.
Nonetheless, here it is: an unglazed, unlovely, but uniquely qualified chunk of terra cotta that works a certain magic with chickens, potatoes, and other things that lend themselves to steam-roasting.
There are two easy tricks to cooking with this vessel (commonly sold here under the “Romertopf” name): soak it in water for an hour beforehand, and start it in a cold oven and bring it up to temperature.
Enough preamble. For some seriously good potatoes:
Soak your clay pot
Scatter 2 tsp grey sea salt or fleur de sel over the bottom
Tumble 2 lbs or 1 kg of new potatoes into the pot
Tuck 2 or 3 bay leaves (fresh is best) in amongst the spuds
Sprinkle 2 more tsp grey salt atop
Cover the pot, put it into a cold oven, bring it up to 375′ F, and bake for 45 mins
Turn the oven off, and let the pot sit there until you’re ready to serve
On the plate, crush the potatoes randomly and anoint them with a glug of good olive oil.