Sunday, August 31, 2008

Campfire Potatoes with Herbs

I'm sure there are more versions of this recipe than there are stars in the sky. And that's the beauty of these potatoes. The recipe is basic, yet the variations are limitless.

I just christened them "Campfire Potatoes" because you can easily throw these packets in a campfire to cook them, and we have done so. They can also be grilled at home, in case you don't plan to have a campfire anytime soon. I'm sure you could bake them in the oven as well, but I have never done that.

Today, this is how I made them.

Campfire Potatoes with Herbs

8 Potatoes, sliced or chopped
1 Onion, thinly sliced and rings separated
4-5 Carrots, sliced
Coarse salt
Garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
Any other vegetable your heart desires (optional)
Fresh herbs of your choice (rosemary, tarragon, basil, parsley, etc.)

Lay out a large piece of tin foil (use a double layer if your tin foil is flimsy). If you're making a lot, use several separate pieces--you will be making packets of vegetables to put on the grill. For the quantity of vegetables listed above, I made three packets, with all the ingredients divided among them.

Slice or chop several potatoes and place them on the tin foil. Thinly slice an onion or two, and lay some of the rings over each pile of potatoes. Slice some carrots, and add those as well. I also meant to throw in some peeled cloves of fresh garlic, but I forgot! You can really add anything you'd like: zucchini, mushrooms, whatever you have available.

Generously sprinkle with coarse salt, and top with several tablespoons of butter. The amount of butter depends on the size of your packet. Don't be afraid to use a whole stick or two if you're making a lot. I used a whole stick, divided between three packets. Mine looked like this:

I couldn't decide on just one herb, so in my three different packets, I used three different herbs (top to bottom): rosemary, Italian parsley, sage. If you don't have any fresh herbs, you could use dried or just leave the herbs out. They'll be delicious either way.

It is very important to seal these packets well, because you will be flipping them on the grill about half-way through cooking. Top your vegetables with an additional piece of foil, roughly the same size as the bottom piece. Join the two side edges together, and fold them over one another, the way you roll your coffee beans or cereal bags closed. Do the same with each side, then with each end, and it should be good.

Place your packets on the grill over medium-low heat, and grill for about 20 to 30 minutes. Gently flip over (use oven mitts or be careful not to pierce the foil with your tongs) and grill for another 20 minutes or so. You should hear the butter sizzling and smell the onions cooking.

When you open them, they will be perfectly tender, and will look like this:

And they will taste amazing.

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