When Smitten Kitchen posted the photos for the captivating, ridged Crispy Potato Roast, I knew immediately that I had to make it. (I did make a potato chip pizza, after all). The recipe was unfailingly simple, if a bit tedious (I actually had to tuck little slivers of onion in between every potato slice, which gives it the nice fanned, uneven look). The results were stunning, so you can imagine my massive disappointment when the dish was revealed to be quite boring. Plain. Meh.

I don’t think it was because I didn’t adhere perfectly to the recipe — I subbed a red onion, cut thinly, for the shallots, and sprigs of rosemary for the thyme — I just think that the recipe is somewhat of a dud. I didn’t care for the red pepper flakes, and I could barely taste the rosemary. It’s neither a crispy, golden potato chip, nor a luxurious, creamy gratin. It was just… there. Under-seasoned and a bit limp.

I have to reiterate that moments like this is why I don’t really use recipes. I could see how this dish could be improved, at least for me: I’d reduce the amount of butter and olive oil, and add a few glugs of veal stock and heavy cream. And lest you think that my iteration takes the easy route of deliciousness, vis-a-vis cream and meat, I will also remind you that my vegan version of potato gratin is equally, if not more, delicious (sub all dairy and meat products for white wine, fennel, gorgeous olive oil, loads of herbs, and piles of breadcrumbs).

Also, this dish makes a ridiculous amount of food. (I used about four very large Russets). To think that I made this dish just for me and my partner is laughable, because then I had to wade through the leftovers for about five days.


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