Potato Punts

Said to have been invented as a late-night antidote to alcohol at a New York restaurant called Simon’s, these herbed potato balls were served in fried skins with a drink.


  • 2 large potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • Dried rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prick the skins of the potatoes and lightly rub with oil. Bake in a hot oven until tender and then allow to cool. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides with a melon scoop.

Fry the skins in oil until crisp, rub each half inside with ½ oz (13 g) butter per potato, sprinkle with the rosemary and keep warm. Fry the little potato balls and serve at once in the shells, sprinkling a little salt and pepper on each.

‘This root, no matter how you prepare it, is tasteless and floury. It cannot pass for an agreeable food; but it supplies a food sufficiently abundant and sufficiently healthy for men who ask only to sustain themselves … The potato is blamed and with reason, for its windiness; but what is a question of wind to the virile organs of the peasant and workers … an Egyptian fruit whose cultivation may possibly have some value in the colonies.’

From L’Encyclopédie by Diderot, 1746.