Chef JoAnna Minneci's All Day Potatoes, AKA Those Awesome Potatoes
Chef JoAnna Minneci is a personal chef to the stars. That's movie stars in Tinsel Town, California.
I just finished one of the most informative interviews I've done on Novice2Pro, and it is a must-read for anyone considering going to culinary school to become a personal chef, caterer, or professional chef. See interview with Chef JoAnna
Chef JoAnna is a graduate of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California - Los Angeles (closed) but didn't waste any time setting up her own business, Chef JoAnna, to service the celebrities of Los Angeles. When I asked her for one of her favorite recipes, she described what she calls her "All Day Potatoes". Here is what she said,
There are no measurements because if I tell you to make 4 potatoes for 4 people, you'll still end up eating half of them before they get to the table...even before they're cool enough to eat. Potatoes are cheap, so go ahead and make a couple extra. There are no timings because there are too many variables: They're done when they're done.
JoAnna describes how to trim the potatoes into a tournée shape. This is how it is done in fancy restaurants and creates a great presentation, but it also adds a lot of time and effort so I have no problem telling you to skip this process and do everything else.
The final result will still taste delicious!
Awesome Roasted Potatoes Recipe
- Russet potatoes medium-sized
- salt to taste
- fresh thyme
- Peel some medium-sized russet potatoes and cut into quarters.
- Refine edges by "turning" them (in other words, cut into tournée shape) *see notes
- Rinse off the starch, then put potatoes in a pot of cold water to cover. Bring pot of salted water to a boil.
- When the potatoes have boiled for about a minute, pull them out gently and place them on a sheet pan and let them air-dry.
- Put the oven on to 400º F.
- In a roasting pan (Pyrex is nice because it cleans easier) melt some butter, enough to coat all the potatoes. If you're using unsalted butter, put in a pinch or three of salt.
- Toss in a few sprigs of fresh thyme, but if you only have dried thyme, that works okay. As the potatoes cook the leaves will come off the stems.
- Now add the potatoes, and roast until they're blistery and a little bit browned.
- They're delicious as-is, but you can also serve them with aioli or some fresh butter.
What is "turning" the potatoes or cutting into a tournée shape?
A tournée cut is a fancy seven sided oblong shaped cut that is often used in fancy high-end restaurants on vegetables like carrots and potatoes. It gives the food a rich look and consistent appearance when served as a side dish to an expensive entree.
The vegetable is usually about 2 inches in length and the preparer "turns" the vegetable while making seven equally wide sides and then cuts off the ends so they are flat.
There is a special knife used for this cut called a Bird's Beak knife, also known as a Tourner knife that has a curved blade but you can also use a paring knife just as effectively with a little practice.
This type of cut will really impress your friends but it is time consuming for those of us who don't do this professionally. You have to remember, high-end restaurants have very low paid staff that spend all day prepping ingredients for the evening dinner service. By all means, try your hand at this cutting technique just for the experience. Your kids will love the look and shape of it.