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A new way with spuds: #DominoPotatoesMustFall!

A new way with spuds: #DominoPotatoesMustFall!
#DominoPotatoesMustFall in neat rows: Tony Jackman’s domino potatoes, fresh from the oven. May 2024. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Domino potatoes? It’s easy to understand if you’ve ever lined up dominoes and pushed one end. They collapse, with each domino overlapping the one next to it. We can do that with potatoes too.

Every potato recipe I’ve ever written and published has absolutely flown. Clearly, potatoes are the bacon of the vegetable world. So if ever I come across a way to cook potatoes that I’ve never done before, well, I pounce on it like a jackal that’s spied a vlakhaas*. And I had never even heard of domino potatoes.

In fact, you can make two potato recipes with this one, because, in the shaping of the potato “dominoes”, there are unavoidably plenty of bits that have to be cut off. And we don’t like to waste a thing, right? So let’s make a meal of this: in fact, two.

The parts of the potatoes that were cut off were unpeeled, and this is a bonus, as it turns out. I decided to put these in a bakkie, covered with cold water, in the fridge, and the next night I drained and dried them, and turned them into misshapen potato chips, skin and all. The flavour of the skin turned those chips into little delights.

But I took the domino potatoes just one step further and decided to make them just a bit cheesy too.

I overlaid the thin potato squares in neat rows (ish), sprinkled nutmeg, salt and black pepper over, brushed them with melted butter, and gave them their first bake.

Then I removed them from the oven, lowered the temperature, brushed them with more melted butter and sprinkled them with grated Cheddar and thyme leaves, and put them back in the oven.

The entire point of domino potatoes (other than eating them, of course) is to appreciate their beauty in their serried rows. So the Cheddar component needs a light hand so that you can see their shapes.

Domino potatoes would make an attractive potato side dish for a dinner party, with a whole row of them lifted onto the plates alongside the main event, and placed down neatly in their rows. I used a fish slice to do this: it’s basically a spatula, but much wider.

Please don’t follow the cooking times to the minute, as ovens behave differently. You need to check them now and then and decide when they seem right. As you may know by now, my gas oven is a tempermental old cuss.

A note about the number of potatoes: You can of course use more than four if you like a lot of potato (such as, inter alia, I do), so by all means prepare more, but try to retain similar dimensions when placing parts of different potatoes in one row. Choose ones that look like they will be easy to shape into squares.

Tony’s Domino Potatoes

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

4 large potatoes

Butter, generously

Grated Cheddar cheese, not too much

Grated nutmeg

Fresh thyme leaves, picked

Salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200℃.

Cut each potato into as close to a square as you can. Peel off any bits that aren’t quite neat. Put the offcuts in a container covered with water and refrigerate. Plan a supper for the next evening that goes well with potato chips.

Cut each potato into thin slices, about 3mm. Butter an oven pan. Lay out the potato slices, overlapping (as in the photo). Melt some butter and brush it over them. Season with salt and black pepper, and grate a little nutmeg over, lightly.

Bake at 200℃ for 30 minutes.

Take them out, and turn the temperature down to 180℃ (or 190℃ if you have a silly old gas oven like mine).

Brush with butter again. Grate a little Cheddar cheese over and scatter with thyme leaves.

Bake for another 20 minutes or until they look lightly golden and are tender when touched. Garnish with fresh thyme.

What I did next evening with the leftover bits of potato: drain them, and pat them dry. Slice into slim chips; they will be in irregular shapes.

Boil in oil at 160℃ until golden and crispy. Shake off excess oil and put them in a bowl lined with kitchen paper to drain. Salt lightly. DM

* Cape hare.

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

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