Crispy potatoes, grilled onions, fresh herbs. The three come together to make a pretty amazing side dish. But how do you get the potatoes crispy on the outside and not overcook the inside? The secret is slightly cooking them first in the microwave
Whenever I’m cooking a dish on the grill, I make it a challenge to see if I can make the entire dinner outside. This has two big advantages. First, everything has that awesome grilled flavor. And second, you have a lot less mess in the kitchen to clean up.
I’ve tried grilling potatoes at least a dozen different ways. Early on, it was a lot of potatoes grilled whole. But this doesn’t give enough surface area for them to get crispy. You’ll need to quarter them in bit sized pieces. To make this work, you need to have a grill basket. I’ve definitely lost more than my fair share of potatoes by having them fall between the grates.
The challenge with potatoes is that no matter how small you cut them, they’re going to overcook near the skin before the most inner part fluffy and moist. This is where the two step cooking method comes in. Back in 2012, I put up a recipe for oven roasted purple potatoes where I first discussed this method.
You want to cook the potatoes first in the microwave. But not all the way. Just enough to start the cooking process. If you turn your left hand over right now and poke at the lower left of your palm, just above the wrist bone, this is cooked too far. You want somewhere between this level of doneness and raw. Basically, it’s just “slightly pressable”. I’ve found that means about 5 minutes in my microwave for a large plate of little red potatoes.
They’re going to still be too hot to handle when you take them out, so set them aside to cool. Once they are manageable, slice each of them in half and place them on a kitchen towel to soak up any moisture on the surface.
If you are the kind of griller who fires up your grill to maximum and lets it get scorching hot on the inside before throwing on meat, you’ll want to exercise some temperature management here. The ideal temperature is about 400 degrees. On my 3 burner grill, I’ll set the burner below the wire basket to medium low and adjust the others to hold between 375 and 425.
The key is to get the skins slightly charred, but not burnt. You’ll also want to be careful not to slice your onions too thin, or you’ll have charred onion strips in the end. Done right, you’ll have tasty grilled onions and potatoes that are crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
I’ve also learned that applying any herbs or seasoning before grilling is pointless. Most of it will either wash off when you toss in oil, or will be incinerated in the heat. They best time to season is while they are warm, just before plating. Fresh herbs respond best to the gentle heat and open up their aromas when tossed in. They will also retain their bright colors when they aren’t grilled
- 1.5 Pound Bag of Red Potatoes
- 1 Medium Red Onion Sliced
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- Wash the potatoes thoroughly and pierce each a few times with a fork
- Place them on a microwave safe plate, cover with a paper towl, and microwave them for 5 minutes. You are trying not to cook them all the way through. They should be just slightly tender to the touch
- Let them cool for a few minutes and then cut each in half. Place them skin side up on a paper towel.
- Slice the onion and place in a large mixing bowl
- Just before grilling, quarter the potatoes and add them to the bowl with the onion. Toss with the oil. Salt and Pepper as needed
- Transfer to a wire grill basket and cook for 20 minutes over a medium flame. If you have a grill thermometer, keep it between 375 and 425 degrees. Monitor them regularly and stir to prevent over cooking
- Add the chopped rosemary right before serving