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March 5, 2014

Get St. Patrick's Day spirit with 'green' potatoes

Until I moved to Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t a big event for me. But that first year, I was stunned by the sight of what locals took for granted — a boat slowly traveling the Chicago River depositing a rich green dye into the water. It was amazing to see the water turn emerald.

Thereafter, I understood: St. Patrick’s Day is taken seriously in Chicago. And it’s a great excuse for an all-day party in cold and dreary March.

Since then, I’ve created various recipes for getting in the mood, including a flank steak marinated in Guinness. But this year, I decided to focus on that other staple of the Irish diet, the potato. And in honor of Chicago, I made it a “green” potato recipe.

I actually make these potatoes at home all year. It is one of those simple recipes that everyone asks for and can be cooked on the grill or in the oven. On the grill, you put the potatoes directly onto the cooking grates over indirect heat (I use the warming rack on my grill). To make the potatoes in the oven, you set the potatoes on a rack set over a baking sheet. That way, the hot air circulates around the potatoes, crisping them perfectly.

These crispy roasted potatoes are crunchy on the outside and soft and silky inside. So much so, you don’t need the addition of butter or sour cream to make them creamy. But they do get even better when tossed in a green herb and garlic sauce.

The sauce is a simple, uncooked sauce made from fresh green herbs, spices, garlic, shallots, lemon juice and olive oil. The hot roasted potatoes absorb all the flavors of the fresh herbs, and the touch of lemon juice balances the starch, making for a light and almost refreshing potato side dish similar to a hot potato salad. And, they look great on the plate!

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