Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Roasted Potatoes with Hummus & Za'atar Recipe Notes
This dish kind of came about by accident, just using what I had on hand. I love the results.
Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Za'atar. A Middle Eastern spice blend where sesame seeds are combined with the tart citrusy flavour of Sumac, dried herbs & salt. After trying the potatoes alone with za'atar, I decided to make a quick batch of hummus to join the plate. Good call. Crispy potatoes, creamy garlicky hummus garnished with a generous sprinkling of Za'atar & if you like, fresh chopped parsley. There is a lot of brightness happening, I definitely see this as a side dish to accompany other things. Maybe to serve along with other middle eastern inspired dips or appetizers for a snacky situation, or beside a main dish of some sort with a salad.
Tips For The Best Roasted Potatoes
Cooking Your Potatoes Before Roasting
Don't skip cooking potatoes in salted water before you roast them. It requires a bit of planning because they need to cool before tossing with oil and popping them in the oven, but the results are so much better than simply roasting raw potatoes. (Though admittedly, I do that sometimes when I just don't gaf and need food.) Boiling them first allows the surface of the potatoes to break down a bit, creating a starchy surface. All the roughed up bits give you more area to crisp up.
What Kind of Potatoes Should I Use?
Choose a starchy potato with a lower level of waxiness. These potatoes are dryer and fluffier and are ideal candidates for roasting. A waxy potato has a lower starch content and more moisture, and are better for boiling. Russets or Yukon Gold potatoes area good choice for roasting, though there are undoubtedly hundreds of varieties out there that would be suitable, but probably not widely available. I'm certainly not a potato expert.
Should I start My Potatoes in Cold or Boiling Water?
It has been ingrained in me since Culinary School to start potatoes in COLD water. Dropping potatoes into boiling water results in the potatoes cooking on the outside & breaking down before the inside has fully cooked through. Well, I did a bit of research. I found an article on Serious Eats that says when cooking potatoes for roasting, start them in boiling water. I have to say it makes 100% sense. I have yet to try it as I write this, but I will. When roasting potatoes, as I explained above, the starchy outside bits are what give you the desired extra crispiness, so you actually WANT the outside to be broken down and rough. Why didn't I think of that! The more you know.
Oil & Oven Temperature
You want a hot oven between 425F -450F to encourage browning. I keep an eye on my potatoes when cooking them. I don't flip them until the first side is golden. When it comes to choosing an oil, I was always taught to use one with a higher smoke point for roasting, so a vegetable oil. I prefer using extra virgin olive oil, however. I think it's the better for you choice and I haven't had any issues using it for roasting. If I was deep frying potatoes, I would definitely gravitate towards canola or sunflower oil.
Recipe Roasted Potatoes
What is Za'atar?
The origin of Za'atar is believed to have originated in the Middle East and has been used for centuries in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It is a staple in the cuisines of countries such as Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon. The blend of herbs and spices varies depending on the region, but the traditional mix includes dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. The use of Za'atar as a condiment and seasoning is deeply ingrained in Middle Eastern culture. It's often used as a seasoning for meats, vegetables, and bread. If you don't want to make it, you can always buy a premade blend.
I made a big batch because it's a fun thing to have on hand for quick snacking or garnish. This really makes a lot (about 2 1/4 cups) so you might want to halve the recipe if you don't want that much hanging around in your pantry. I sprinkle it on my hummus all the time so I like having it.
Hummus is something I make almost weekly. If you want extra creamy hummus, just rub the chickpeas between your fingers before pureeing them. The skins will pop off, giving you a creamier texture. I don't always do this, but it is nice to have the option. When I do go for it, I don't worry about getting EVERY single chickpea skin. I just keep doing it until it seems like I got most of them. I tend to chop my garlic just to ensure it gets easily distributed, but again, sometimes I just chuck it all in.
How to Assemble the Dish
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