Potatoes with Peperoncino
Patate Lessate con Diavolicchio

serves: 6

Potatoes will never taste the same after you have tried this dish. This preparation captures the beauty of the cooking of Basilicata, straightforward, simple, but full of brilliant flavor. Even if you are not so passionate about hot pepper, I encourage you not to be timid with the peperoncino in this dish. Of course, this kind of simple cooking depends on fine ingredients. Excellent olive oil and good potatoes are key. I like russets, but Yukon Gold or waxy varieties would work, too.

¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
2 pounds large russet potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped


You will need a spice grinder or small mortar and pestle; a 4-quart saucepan; a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 8-to- 10- inch diameter.

Put the peperoncino flakes in the spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind to a fine powder.

Put the potatoes in the 4-quart pot with water to cover them by about 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Cook just until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork or sharp knife blade (don't let them get mushy), then drain and let them cool. Peel off the skins, and cut the potatoes crosswise into round slices, about 1/3 inch thick. Put the slices in a large warmed serving bowl, sprinkle the salt over them, and toss well to season. Cover the bowl with a cloth kitchen towel to keep them warm.

To make the dressing: Pour the olive oil in the skillet, and set over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Strew the sliced garlic and sprinkle the ground peperoncino in the hot oil, and let both sizzle, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, and stir in the chopped parsley. Drizzle the seasoned oil from the skillet over the warm potatoes, and toss to coat all the slices. Serve immediately.