When Sarah, Maris and I first saw the topic of Melissa D’Arabian‘s new Food Network show, we all had the same thought … hey, they swiped our idea! Melissa is the latest winner of The Next Food Network Star, coming away with her very own brand new show, $10 Dollar Dinners, promising dinner for four that won’t break the bank. Love that! During the series, the judges consistently suggested to Melissa that she tone down her energy just a bit. Put it this way … her level of perkiness makes Rachael Ray look like she’s a walking zombie, and we all know how much energy Rachael has! While Melissa definitely has the market cornered in the energy area, it was infectious and hard not to like and root for her. She is also a stay-at-home mom to four little girls preschool age, so that boundless energy no doubt comes in handy. (You can see a very adorable pic of her girls right here). She was also the only contestant with no formal culinary education.
Nick and I happened to catch an episode of her show yesterday where she made a Parisian-inspired meal featuring a chicken l’orange dish and crispy potatoes. We both instantly wanted the potatoes, especially once she said they were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. My favorite kind.
First, a quick note. See the picture of the tray up top? That’s supposed to serve four. With a little coleslaw and chicken breast on the side. I just don’t see it. Especially not if your four happen to be guys … or high school footballers … or really hungry … or who don’t like coleslaw. Just sayin’. I understand that that amount is what kept the dinner under the $10 mark (her breakdown was $5 for the chicken, $4 for the coleslaw and $1 for the potatoes), but maybe spending some of the coleslaw’s $4 for another potato might go further. In my humble opinion, of course.
Now that being said, how were they? In a word – delish. Just as she promised, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I used Yukon Golds, instead of the Russets she called for, just to up the buttery taste a bit, but they were scoffed up like nobody’s business at dinner time, and the perfect accompaniment for a nice, tender pot roast.
Perfect Crispy Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of Melissa D’Arabian
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potato cubes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the water, stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the potatoes until the water evaporates, about 3 or 4 more minutes. (Every 1 to 2 minutes, open the lid long enough to stir the potatoes so they don’t stick.) Lower the heat to medium, and saute another 1 to 2 minutes until all traces of water are gone. Toss in the butter and stir to coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are crisp and browned to your liking, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on how dark you want them. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and serve.