Batatas a Murro – Portuguese Garlicky “Punched Potatoes”

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If you love garlic, you’ll love this recipe for “Punched Potatoes”. Cook them in the oven along with your roasts and save yourself time in that kitchen!

You can use any kind of potato but I like to use russets or Idaho potatoes since they’re tend to bake fluffier. If you don’t like garlic just leave it out and use only the warm olive oil salt and pepper.

It doesn’t get any easier that! Enjoy!

Here’s A Potato Story from my younger days.

Before coming to America, my parents grew potatoes on their small farm in Northern Portugal near the border with Spain which provided enough income to support our family all year. My mother loved selling those potatoes and she loved being a business woman. Each harvest season my father traveled around the surrounding communities selling the potatoes to the local residents right off his truck.

The first year after immigrating to America, they learned about the fall harvest tradition observed by many Portuguese Americans living in New England who visit local potato farms to buy the newly harvested potatoes called “Green Mountains” in 50 pound sacks. The potatoes are then stored in the root cellars or in garages for consumption during the long winter months.

I hated potatoes when I was a little girl and honestly, I’m still not a big fan. Perhaps this is why I remember this event vividly.

One Saturday in late September my parents visited one of those local potato farms and brought home a huge truckload of fifty, 50 pound sacks of potatoes for our family to eat during the winter. If you do the math, that equals two and one half tons of potatoes!

I cringed at the thought of eating those damn potatoes all winter as I stood there watching my father and two brothers exhaustively unload the truck and carry the sacks into the basement!

Five months later, February arrived and the basement was filled with sacks of wrinkled potatoes that had sprouted and no longer edible! My poor brothers cursed as they lifted the 40 sacks of potatoes back up the cellar steps and load them back into that same truck to had brought them to bring to the dump! 

I often think that my mother missed being a potato farmer and a business woman, and she had secretly planned on selling those potatoes around town just like she had back in Portugal.

Her potato buying was scrutinized and limited from that year on, but this story has become a laughable family tale told every year during potato season in New England.

Learn more fascinating Potato history in Portugal at: (http://www.virgiliogomes.com/chronicles/135-glory-of-the-potato

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds small russet or Idaho potatoes

1 teaspoon sea or regular salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 or 3 large cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1/2 cup of olive oil

Preparation:

Wash and scrub the potatoes. Remove any blemishes and pat dry. Pierce with a fork in a couple of spots. Coat with sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.  Gently rub the oil into the potatoes and place in small oven proof dish or pan. I use an oven to table dish for easy serving. Cook at 400 degrees  for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven.

Note: (You can also boil the potatoes in salted water, with the skin on for about 30-45 minutes. Pierce with a fork for doneness.)

Meanwhile, make garlic oil:

In a small saucepan heat the oil and add the garlic. Cook on low for a few minutes untill the garlic turn slightly golden. Do not overcook or the garlic will become bitter!

To test potatoes for doneness, pierce them with a fork or gently squeeze a potato holding your oven mitt. The potato should be soft.

When the potatoes are ready, punch them down with your fist wrapped in a clean dish towel. or with a meat mallet until they “POP” open.

*Note: The potatoes are hot – be careful!

 

 When ready to serve, pour the garlic olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle on fresh cracked black pepper as desired.

Place in the oven on low until ready to serve or re-heat the next day! Enjoy!

 

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