Patate Arroste con Aglio, Aceto e Rosmarino

Roast Potatoes with Vinegar, Garlic and Rosemary

Badly roasted potatoes – lukewarm, greasy and soggy – are a universal accompaniment to roast or grilled meats in most of the restaurants around Orvieto. This is my tidying up of the local speciality, and I first served it in this precise form to Signor Belcapo at the La Cacciata ‘end-of-week’ dinner. He went mental about them, and his wife Clara and cook Marisa now have to try and cook them the English way -as if any dish involving so many cloves of garlic could ever be seen as English...

Ingredients

  • 8 large new potatoes, either peeled or scrubbed until almost totally skinless
  • good olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 24 garlic cloves, new season and left in their skins
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2–3 tbsp good ordinary red wine vinegar

Method

Preheat the oven to its maximum.

Cut the potatoes into large bite-sized pieces. Cover with cold water in a pan and bring to a boil, switch off and leave for 10 minutes. Drain well.

Grease a roasting dish that is big enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer liberally with olive oil, then arrange the potatoes in it with a flat cut surface in contact with the dish. Sprinkle with more olive oil and season liberally with coarse salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until brown and crisp. (This may take more than 30 minutes.)

Turn to another face and strew the potatoes with the garlic cloves. Turn the oven down to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3 and give them a further 15 minutes. You may need a little more olive oil. After this time is up, strew with the rosemary needles and turn the garlic and potatoes again. Return to the oven and give a further 15 minutes. Test for doneness and seasoning. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the vinegar, shake the dish and stand back; it will splutter. Serve immediately.

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