Preparation time: 40 minutes
Batatas a Murro, meaning punched down potatoes, is the name of this traditional Portuguese dish. Potatoes “get to know your fist” while still warm and then are drizzled with garlic olive oil and a dash of vinegar. Frankly, I rather punch gently with a coffee mug.
In the US I use small golden Yukon potatoes, which have a moist flesh and are creamy inside but still retain their shape when roasted. For the UK I recommend using King Edwards or Maris Piper and for the Continent, i.e. Europe proper, the Bintje, Nicola or Charlotte varieties. The US once again is a bit of a culinary desert when it comes to potatoes. The large commercial growers and fast food companies like the Yukon potato. It grows fast and can be processed efficiently. The drawback is that it’s not as tasty the European varieties.
- 2 lbs (1 kg) small Yukon, King Edwards, Charlotte, Nicola or Bintje potatoes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp red vinegar or to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (220°C).
Wash and scrub potatoes and remove any blemishes. Pat them dry with paper towels. Mix sea salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and coat potatoes evenly. Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake potatoes for about 20-25 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.
In the meantime, pour remaining olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat oil over low heat for a few minutes until garlic becomes golden and fragrant taking care not to let the garlic burn or it will turn bitter. Garlic should only flavor the oil. Keep it warm.
To test the doneness of the potatoes, pick one with paper towels. Punch it down gently with your fist. Potato should “Pop open” but, if possible, not fall apart. With a bit of patience, you will find the “right punch”. It is trial and error. Place them on a serving plate and drizzle them with the garlic oil. A touch of vinegar and fresh pepper adds a bit of a bite but is optional.
Keep it warm until ready to serve.