Garden Potatoes on the Grill

by Susie Middleton
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grilledpotatoesFinally, we’re harvesting our potatoes—Red Golds and French Fingerlings, too. Every morning Roy forks up a plant or two and we ooh and ah over the tubers that tumble off the roots. (The potatoes are Roy’s babies, so he gets to decide how many we pull up every day!) There are always a few that are only the size of marbles—I slip them in my pocket and roll them around in my fingers from time to time, as if they were lucky garden charms. The rest I weigh and portion into those cute little green berry baskets for the farm stand. Any extras I get to keep. And cook for dinner. Yum.

The other night I had a few of both kind left over, and they were all different sizes. So I cut them up into pieces about the same size so they’d cook at about the same rate. But instead of roasting them, I decided to cook them on the grill using a method I developed for Fine Cooking years ago.

Basically, it’s just cooking in a foil package (not a radical concept!), but the trick is to make a package of even thickness so that all the potatoes cook at about the same rate (see directions in the recipe below).

The big payoff here is that by putting the foil package over the direct heat of the grill, the potatoes get some great browning (and flavor) and cook through, too. I wrap the potatoes in three layers of foil so that they don’t burn, and I flip the potato package once during cooking so both sides have contact with the hot grill grates.

grilledpotatoes2To keep the potatoes from drying out, I do two things: I toss them with plenty of olive oil, and I include aromatic veggies (like onions, mushrooms, or peppers) that give off both moisture and flavor as they cook. Garlic cloves are yummy additions, too, as are hearty fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary. I used quartered shallots in the version I made the other night. They were tasty, but the smaller pieces of shallot almost burned so I’d leave them out. I also wish I’d had the mushrooms on hand to add, so I’ve included the suggestion below.

My potatoes cooked—just like my old recipe said they would!—in about 45 minutes, but this might depend on the grill you’re using. To see if your potatoes are done, remove the package from the grill and very carefully peel back the foil with tongs (the steam will be hot). Poke one or two with a paring knife. If they need more time, just wrap the package back up and continue cooking. If they seem like they’re brown enough already, put the package over a burner turned to low, but keep the other burners on medium.

This is definitely a method worth playing around with, as it’s a great hands-off way to cook potatoes on a summer night when you’d rather cook out than turn your oven on.

Grilled Potato “Packages”

Mushrooms are a good addition to this mix. If you include them, use 3 or 4 ounces and reduce the amount of potatoes slightly.

12 ounces red, gold, and/or fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large shallots or one small yellow or red onion, cut into chunks (discard smaller pieces)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons thyme leaves or roughly chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat a gas grill on medium heat. (My gas grill is new and runs fairly hot so I turn the dials to just below medium. ) Combine all the ingredients, including several grinds of fresh pepper, in a bowl and mix well. Measure out three sheets of (regular) aluminum foil. Each should be about 20 inches long. Overlap two pieces in a cross pattern. Mound the potato mixture in the middle of the cross and spread it out evenly into a square of even thickness (about 1 1/2 inches). Fold each piece of foil in and over the potatoes to wrap the package, and wrap the third piece of foil around the package for a good seal.

Put the package directly on the grill grate and cover the grill. Cook for 20 minutes (you’ll hear sizzling) and flip over. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove the package from the grill and open it carefully with tongs. (It will release hot steam.) The potatoes should be nicely browned in places and will be tender when pierced with a paring knife. If they aren’t tender yet, rewrap and cook for 10 minutes longer.

Serve warm.

Serves 3 as a side dish

 

Susie Middleton is the author of The Fresh & Green Table (Chronicle Books, June 2012) and Fast, Fresh & GreenI Like Mine Extra-Crispy—Roasted Broccoli (Chronicle Books, April 2010). She is the former Editor and current Editor at Large for Fine Cooking magazine. She lives, writes, cooks, and grows vegetables on Martha's Vineyard. Her blog is at <sixburnersue.com

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