If you are looking for an easy appetizer to serve to friends and family over the coming weekend, it doesn't get much easier or delicious than these potatoes. Yukon Gold potatoes are perfect for roasting, taking on a creamy consistency and buttery flavor when cooked. Smoked paprika, made from peppers which are dried by smoking over a low fire for 10-15 days, comes from Spain. Being in the nightshade family it pairs well with other nightshade family members such as potatoes and tomatoes. The smoked paprika added to the aioli adds a captivating, smokey aroma that will seductively pull you in for the ultimate potato dipping experience. Whoa...
Roasted Yukon Golds
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes per person
ex virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into halves and then again, lengthwise into 3 spears per half for a total of 6 pieces per potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enough olive oil to coat them well. Spread out on a sheet pan with one cut side down. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning over halfway through the time, until they are browned. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the parsley or cilantro, if using. Serve warm or at room temp with the smoked paprika aioli.
Smoked Paprika Aioli
1 c 'Best Foods' mayonnaise
1/2 t smoked paprika (really fresh)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 T ex virgin olive oil
pinch of cayenne
1/2 t lemon juice
pinch of salt
a couple of grinds of pepper
Mix all together in a small bowl, let sit for a few minutes and then taste for seasonings.
I love butternut squash soup but I don't like peeling them. I dislike that weird yellow film that you get on your hands, plus it's time consuming, clunky and difficult. Roasting the squash first solves this problem and makes this soup so effortless, you will want to make it all winter long. Roasting the squash and pears with all the other veggies—skins on—not only saves you the trouble of peeling them, it also adds a depth of flavor that you just can't get on top of the stove. Using pears or apples adds a sweetness to the smoky roasted garlic and onions that all complement the flavor of the delicate squash. Finishing with a touch of créme fråiche and a sprinkle of sumac (a Middle Eastern spice with a tart, lemony flavor) adds tangy goodness. I often serve soup in small cups to sip as a hand held appetizer before dinner, warm and satisfying. Cold winter weather, bring it on!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Soup
3 lb butternut squash, halved, seeds removed
2 small yellow onions, halved
1 bulb garlic
2 red pears (any kind will work) cut in half, cored
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper
6 c chicken stock
1/4 c dry sherry
créme fråiche (optional)
Preheat oven 400° Place the squash, onion, cut-side up, the pears and the garlic on a lightly greased sheet pan lined with non-stick baking paper (if you have some). Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes or until onion is caramelized and squash is soft. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh of the squash into a large saucepan. Remove the onion and garlic (cut a bit off of the top, exposing the cloves and squeeze the sides until the soft garlic comes out) from their skins and add to the pan. Add the pears to the pan too.
Add the stock, and, using a hand-held stick blender, blend the soup until smooth. Place the soup over high heat and bring to the boil to warm through. Add the sherry, top with créme fråiche and sprinkle with sumac (if using) to serve. Serves 12 as an appetizer portion, 6 as a main serving.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"