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What’s cooking today: Cumin seed potatoes

TGIFOOD

TASTES LIKE TEEN SPIRIT

What’s cooking today: Cumin seed potatoes

Tony Jackman’s cumin seed potatoes, served on a platter by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

These would be wedges, but for the fact that they’re not. There seem to be an awful lot of teenage potatoes in the shops these days, neither ‘baby’ or what the English call ‘new potatoes’, nor fully-fledged grownup ones. Tweenies. Here’s what to do with them.

This recipe can of course work for potato wedges, whether skin-on or peeled (I prefer them unpeeled, they have more flavour). But I’d bought a bag of the middling sort of potatoes that seem to be everywhere at the moment. Adolescent ones, but not so teeny as to be “baby” potatoes. “New” potatoes are too pert, especially if plucked straight from the soil, to do anything with them other than wash them, boil or steam them, and toss them in herbed butter. These pubescent ones, however, are ideal for simply slicing in half, without peeling them but with giving them a rinse under cold water, then putting them in a deep roaster with fat and seasoning and baking them.

How many to cook? That depends on how many you’re feeding and how hungry you all are. With potatoes, you know the rule: always cook more than you think you’ll need, because everybody loves potatoes, and if they don’t, they’re probably aliens.

Let’s say this is for a small group of four people as a sundowner snack, so adjust the quantities to suit yourself.

Ingredients

20 adolescent potatoes, unpeeled, sliced in half

2 or 3 Tbsp cumin seeds

½ cup olive oil

½ cup butter

Plenty of coarse salt

Generous grindings of black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 240℃ or higher. Don’t be timid about the intensity of the heat; potatoes need that, but you do have to shake the pan thoroughly while they’re cooking, several times.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Halve them evenly.

Oil a deep oven dish and put the potatoes in. Toss them vigorously to coat them all over.

Scatter the cumin seeds over. You need a lot of them, so add more if they look a bit sparse. This is all about the cumin. There’s no need to toast the seeds first; that will happen as the potatoes cook.

Dot with knobs of butter and season well with salt and pepper.

Shake and toss the pan like a pro chef trying to impress MasterChef Australia contestants. Bung it in the oven and cook for 90 minutes to two hours, but it is very important to open the oven and shake the pan vigorously many times to promote even cooking and get that lovely golden brown all over. Without this, some of the potatoes will be done and others not quite there yet. Taste one to see whether they’re salty enough. Salt again if you like, and get them onto a platter and to your guests while they’re still hot. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing. 

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

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