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One of my favorites chefs on radio Melinda Lee says: this dish is a meal in itself. Great with only a simple salad alongside -- and it's also makes just a wonderful appetizer (especially if there will be a wait before dinner: these are filling). On the other hand, the potatoes are described in the new book by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby as being a perfect accompaniment to a big, juicy steak. Take your pick -- try them every which way -- and enjoy!
- Build a medium hot fire.
- When you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill where the fire is hottest for about 4-5 seconds, the fire is ready.
- If using a gas grill, use the same technique to determine when you have preheated the grill to the correct temperature.
- Cut a thin slice off each long side of each potato, so you can lay it flat.
- Now cut each potato in half, lengthwise, to make two “planks” each about 1 1/2" thick.
- [No need to peel the potatoes, unless you want to; they’ll cook fine unpeeled.]
- In a large pot or pan, bring salted water to a boil, add potatoes, and simmer them for about 8-9 minutes, or until the pieces are just done, but still quite firm.
- If a toothpick is inserted into one, it should go in easily, but meet with a fair amount of resistance.
- Gently transfer the potatoes to a colander to drain.
- While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until crisp (about 6-8 minutes).
- Transfer the cooked bacon to paper towels or newspaper or a brown paper bag to drain.
- Rub the cut potato “planks” (pieces) generously with the olive oil.
- Sprinkle them generously on all sides with the salt and pepper.
- Place the pieces on the hot grill and cook until they have become really crispy and brown – about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
- Serve topped with sour cream, and sprinkled with the bacon and cut chives.
- (Add butter if desired.) Variations: Add toppings such as grated or shredded cheese, chopped chiles, avocado chunks, tomatoes – or anything else that seems interesting to you.
- You might offer a choice of toppings and let guests build their own!
We had these as a side without the bacon, butter and sour cream but next time I'm having the works as a meal. Just terrific, Tish. The outside is golden and crisp and the inside is soft and fluffy. Great technique and you don't need the oven and an hour. Be sure to use russets for that great texture.