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Milk Street's Christopher Kimball—and author of Milk Street: The World in a Skillet—shares his Lebanese-style potatoes seasoned with Aleppo pepper, hot paprika, lemon and cilantro for our "When Life Gives You Lemons" episode.
"This is our simplified version of Lebanese batata harra—or "spicy potatoes" as translated from the Arabic—which typically is made by deep frying potatoes until crisp, then tossing them in a fragrant mixture of garlic and spices. We get everything done in a nonstick skillet. First, the potatoes are simmered in a modest amount of water until tender, then drained and dried, and finally returned to the pan with olive oil for crisping before the seasonings are introduced. Aleppo pepper is a key ingredient here. The seedless, bright-red pepper flakes have a slightly smoky, subtly fruity flavor with hints of cumin and moderate spiciness. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets, spice shops and well-stocked supermarkets." –Christopher
Pro Tips from Christopher: Don't drain the potatoes of their simmering liquid until they're fully tender. When they're added back to the pan, they'll brown nicely on the exteriors, but the interiors will not cook through any more. Also, be sure to dry the potatoes well after draining so they brown and crisp with a minimal amount of splatter.
For more recipes from our "lemons" episode, check out Rachael's Lemon Risotto with Peas and Pea Tendrils and Scampi and Christopher Kimball's Linguine with Artichokes, Asparagus and Lemon-Mint Ricotta.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, combine the potatoes, 3 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander; wipe out the skillet. Distribute the potatoes on a clean kitchen towel or a doubled layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry.
In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Aleppo pepper and paprika; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half the cilantro and the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt, then transfer to a serving dish. Top with the remaining cilantro and an additional sprinkle of Aleppo pepper.
Excerpted from Milk Street: The World in a Skillet by Christopher Kimball. Copyright © 2022 by Christopher Kimball. Used with permission by Voracious. All rights reserved.