Daily Breeze

Recipe: You’ll become a fan of ‘fanned’ potatoes

Cutting the spuds not quite all the way through and inserting a bay leaf into one of the slits makes for a satisfying dish.

Only two things in this world are too serious to be jested on: potatoes and matrimony.

— Irish Proverb

I admit to potato love. Often when ordering from a restaurant menu, it’s the potato side dish accompanying the entree that makes up my mind. Rather than ordering the luscious chicken dish that comes with a rice pilaf, I most likely would choose the duck breast. Why? A fragrant gratin of potatoes oozing with cream and Gruyere cheese complements the bird.

Last week on my home delivery of groceries, instead of the four large russets that I’d ordered, I received a plastic net-bound bag of about 20 medium-sized baking spuds. No problem. They will be perfect to peel, slice part way down, and bake to fork tenderness until they form fancy fans.

Fanned Potato

Fanned Potatoes, cut not-quite-through with a bay leaf inserted in each spud, fan out as they bake. (File photo by Nick Koon, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Yield: 12 whole potato servings, or 24 half potato servings


1 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

5 pounds russet (baking) potatoes, about 12 medium-sized, peeled, rinsed

Approximately 20 small fresh bay leaves

About 3/4 cup sodium-reduced chicken broth or vegetable broth

Seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s

Coarse salt (kosher or sea), to taste


A wooden spoon can be used to cut fanned potatoes “not-quite-through.” (File photo by Nick Koon, Orange County Register/SCNG)Additional information: St. Patrick’s Day food story on Potato recipes. stpattyspuds.0315 Photo by Nick Koon / The Orange County Register

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 385 degrees. In a large skillet or heavy bottomed flameproof roasting pan, heat butter and olive oil on medium-high heat. When butter melts, add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

2. Make crosswise slices in potatoes about 1/8 inches apart, but don’t cut all the way through. There are two approaches that work well. Either place potato in the well of a large wooden spoon and make the cuts (the sides of the spoon’s bowl will prevent you from cutting all the way through). OR, on the cutting board, place a chopstick on either side of the potato (the height of the chopstick will prevent you from cutting all the way through). Insert one or two bay leaves in each sliced potato.

3. Pour broth in skillet or roasting pan (use caution it may splatter). Add potatoes in a single layer, placing them so the sliced side is up. Using a large spoon, ladle broth mixture over the tops of potatoes. Lightly season with seasoned salt (more salt will be added later, this is primarily for color). Place in preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Remove from oven (if using skillet, remember that the handle is very hot). Move oven rack to position about 8 inches from broiler element. Turn oven to broil. Spoon pan juices over potatoes and season with coarse salt. Broil potatoes until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn on oven light and watch carefully because they can burn easily.