Thursday, May 3, 2012

Caramelized Potatoes

Caramelized potatoes? Caramelized potatoes! Reviewers on Epicurious warned that they wouldn't be sweet like candy but they looked much like caramelized apples. It's a little deceiving.

Caramelized Potatoes
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1 1/2 lbs small (1 1/2- to 2-inch) white boiling potatoes
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 tsp salt

Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain potatoes in a colander and cool slightly.

When potatoes are just cool enough to handle (but are still very warm), peel and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges.

Cook sugar in a 12-inch heavy skillet, undisturbed, over moderate heat until it begins to melt.
In 20 minutes, I started noticing the sugar was browning.

Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar melts into a golden caramel.
Then 4 minutes later I saw a pool of liquid sugar. Four more minutes later the sugar was completely melted.

Add butter and salt, stirring until butter is melted.

Add potato wedges, stirring gently with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula from bottom of skillet to coat potatoes with caramel (caramel will seize and form small clumps).

Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are heated through and any clumps of caramel have melted to coat potatoes evenly, 10 to 12 minutes.

Not knowing what to expect when melting sugar, it was pretty neat to check out. I started getting impatient and sort of jiggled the sugar around even though the directions say to leave it undisturbed. After a few minutes I checked to see if the burner was even on. Patience is key. Sugar will melt.

Though the recipe said to expect the sugar to clump when the potatoes were added, I didn't notice that happen. My potatoes were bone dry and I suspect that if they were damp at all I'd have gotten clumping.

As for the final outcome, it was okay. None of the potatoes went to waste, but it was odd eating them since I really did expect them to actually be sweet like candy. I think if I were to make them again I'd ramp up the sugar quantity like reviewer A Cook From California recommended. And maybe add more butter.