Last weekend, when it was about 75 degrees outside which is just the way I like it at the end of January, we stood outside around the grill and watched as these potatoes crisped over the open flame. If I were making these potatoes again today I’d opt for a grill pan inside on top of the stove since right now, it’s 50 degrees cooler than it was last weekend. The potatoes would still be great grilled inside, and the sour cream drizzle, chile powder, and chopped cilantro have a lot to do with their flavor. Although, if you do have the opportunity to place these on a charcoal grill, the added smokiness they'll attain will make them even better. I received a review copy of a new, little book from Sur la Table called Everyday Grilling. It includes 50 recipes covering everything from appetizers to salads, sandwiches, vegetables, main dishes, and desserts, and there are some great grilling tips too. An enticing photo sits next to each recipe, and I was immediately drawn to the grilled mozzarella and anchovies in chard leaves, the grilled cauliflower steaks with tahini sauce, and the grilled eggplant cannelloni with ricotta. There’s a stir-grilled chicken, mushroom, and baby bok choy dish prepared in a grill wok, and plank grilling recipes for salmon, shrimp, and papaya. There’s even a grilled banana split for dessert. The grilled fingerlings with their toppings looked like they’d be great as a side dish or as party food. The fingerling shape makes them naturally pick up-able, and the toppings are like those of a simplified stuffed baked potato.
I used French fingerlings but any oblong, little potato would work. They were par-boiled on the stove first. The goal of the initial cooking is to get the potatoes just tender but not completely cooked through. Then, they were drained, sliced in half, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt, and placed on a hot grill for about five minutes per side. Last, they were topped with sour cream that had been thinned with water to make it pourable. The chile powder sprinkle could be whichever kind you prefer, and I used a mix of ancho and chipotle powders. Last, chopped cilantro was added, and last weekend I had plenty of cilantro in my herb garden but I haven’t checked its status since the arctic blast arrived.
Pre-cooking the potatoes made them fluffy on the inside, and grilling made the cut surface crisp while lending flavor from the grill smoke. These were easier to prepare than potato skins or twice-baked potatoes, and the toppings were simple, fresh, and well-matched. It’s a fun, useful book, and I’ll be turning to it for grilling ideas year-round as long it’s warmer than 25 degrees outside.