Potatoes + garlic + parsley = the perfect trifecta. I learned this valuable sentiment a couple weeks ago during the sautéing chapter of my journey through culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education. We’ve been medium dicing (AKA cutting into perfect ½-inch cubes) potatoes since the first week of school, and finally we had the opportunity to see how this particular comes to life in a dish. I was not disappointed!
The key to getting potatoes that are soft and creamy on the inside with a golden brown, crispy exterior is by par-cooking them in boiling water before sautéing them. This ensures that the potatoes are fully cooked through on the interior, and you don’t have to worry about burning the outsides while you’re pan-cooking them in hot oil. Make sure the water that use to par-cook the potatoes is heavily salted and cold.
Another reason why this recipe works like a charm is all in the precise medium dice cut. While I understand that prepping potatoes in this way is tedious (and slightly annoying, if we’re being honest), but there actually is good reason for prepping the potatoes in this way. Uniform cuts promote even cooking, so by taking the time to create even cubes, you will likely end up with a dish where all of the potatoes are cooked to perfection, rather than a mixture of undercooked and overcooked potatoes. You feel me? If you don’t want to peel the potatoes or cut them into ½-inch cubes, you don’t have to, just try to get your potatoes cut into the most uniform pieces possible. I understand that you’re not preparing this dish for Gordon Ramsey, so there’s no need to drive yourself insane over precise cuts. Try a medium dice, though! The chef in you will be impressed and PROUD!
While we’re talking about this specific cut of potatoes, I should mention that there’s a ton of extra ‘tater scraps when the spud is diced up like this. Don’t worry, these scraps are anything but garbage. You can toss them into an omelet, frittata, or stir fry, or you can spread them on a baking sheet with oil, salt, and pepper, and quickly roast them up for a starchy snack. There’s no reason to waste a potato, in my humble opinion.
Once you’ve got your ‘taters cubed up, it’s time to get cooking. Make sure that your garlic and parsley are minced before you start sautéing. It all happens super fast, so you want to be ready when it’s time to add the garnishes. This dish has endless potential. Serve it with a hearty cut of steak, top it with a fried egg, or just grate an excessive amount of Parmesan cheese and call it a day. You earned it, chef.