March 22, 2006


Idaho Potato Crusted Pizza (The Associated Press, 3/22/06)

* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
* 4 tablespoons cornstarch
* 11/2 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 4 medium), scrubbed
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup beef or chicken broth
* 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
* 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into rings
* 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

How to make it:

* Preheat oven to 400 F.

* In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper and cornstarch; set aside. Using a food processor or mandoline, slice potatoes very thinly and place them in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle half of the cornstarch mixture over the potato slices; toss the potatoes, then sprinkle them with the remaining cornstarch mixture, and toss again.

* Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over a 12-inch round pizza pan. Layer the potatoes on the pan, overlapping the slices in concentric circles (cover the pan completely). Sprinkle the potatoes with the broth, brush them with the remaining oil, then press the potatoes down firmly with your clean hands to compact them into a crust. Move the oven rack to its lowest position, and bake the potato crust for 20 to 30 minutes, or until edges are browned and potatoes are tender.

* Remove the potato crust from the oven and spread the pesto over the potatoes using a rubber spatula. Top the pizza with the cooked chicken, pepper rings, feta and Parmesan cheese. Return the pizza to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until feta is softened and the pizza is heated through. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with basil and cut into wedges. Use a spatula to loosen the potato crust from the pan.

Makes 6 main-course servings, or 8 appetizer servings.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2006 12:44 PM

Corn starch tossed potato slices? This one loses me.

Posted by: erp at March 22, 2006 1:12 PM


Totally agree the cornstarch makes no sense. If the purpose is to bind the potato slices, omit the cornstarch and keep the potatoes slices away from water after slicing. The potato starch on the surface of the slices will bind them together quite nicely. If you put the slices in water to keep them from turning brown, you wash away the starch and they won't stick together.

Also not really sure about the broth in here as well. Maybe to add a little more flavor but if it's not homemade, don't bother. Moisture is the enemy of browning and it'll have to evaporate before the potato slices will brown. If the stock isn't homemade, you'll be left with a concentrated "yuck" taste. As an experiment, take a little canned broth and reduce it. You'll see.

I'll sometimes layer seasoned potato slices in this manner, brown up on both sides and slip into the oven for a few minutes to finish. Simple but elegant potato side. Add herbs to finish if you got/want 'em. If you have a little duck fat for the frying stage, so much the better. I have some duck fat that has thyme and garlic infused in it left over from homemade confit so I occasionally fry some parboiled diced potatoes in it. Yum. The fat keeps about forever and is easy to buy at a good butcher shop. Fairly heathful as fats go.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 22, 2006 2:20 PM

Rick, You sound like a fabulous cook. I'd love to be invited for dinner especially when you serve duck. Hmm. There's a nicely appointed kitchen at your disposal here in central Florida and I can even offer my roomie for cleanup detail. He loves duck too.

This recipe might be tasty, it's just that corn starch turns me off. I don't like the shiny look things thickened with it have and as for the taste, yuck.

What's wrong with brushing the potatoes with good old fashioned Vermont Cabot brand butter and leave off the broth and the corn starch. Everything else sounds yummy.

Posted by: erp at March 22, 2006 5:30 PM


If I'm ever down that way...Not much better travelling out of the time zone than OJ except on business. I'm sure there would be sparkling dinner conversation. Sounds like you've really done things and gone places in your life.

I would call myself a fair home cook. I'd be better but I only cook on the weekends. I've taken classes, some professionally, and I know how to season properly and when something is done to the degree it should be. If someone can do that plus learn to make their own stock (pretty easy), then they are about 90% of the way there.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 22, 2006 9:03 PM

erp again:

Duck breast is not hard. The key is scoring the skin, season and then cooking skin side down over MEDIUM heat until the fat is mostly rendered out and the skin has turned brown. Flip over for a couple of minutes to brown the skinless side. If it's not done enough for you, put in a 350 oven for several minutes.

If you want a tasty port wine sauce reduction, email me at rickDOTturleyATcorusgroupDOTcom and I'll send it to you.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 22, 2006 9:12 PM

Rick, Thanks for the recipe, but I think I may have misled you. I know how to cook, I just don't like doing it anymore. IIRC, one way to remove the fat is to simply peel back the skin and pull the fat away. Funny, one of the best Peking Duck dinners we ever had was about 25 or so years ago in a restaurant at the base of Sugarbush Mtn in Vermont. It was in a large rustic building more appropriate for King Arthur's knights than Chinese restaurant and the chef was a giant Swede cum hippie. Another "Only in America" moment.

Posted by: erp at March 23, 2006 11:45 AM