If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure I could ever love a man as much as I love potatoes. Unlike men, potatoes are humble, have range, and leave you feeling satisfied and whole. Why would I jump into a relationship when I would reap so many more benefits by simply going to the store and buying a bag of russets? The latter is easier, cheaper, and requires way less emotional labor.
It takes a special kind of single person to decide that they’re going to turn their starchy vegetable side into a cheesy, heart-shaped bite. That desperate singleton? Hello, nice to meet you. Despite my eternal loneliness, Valentine’s Day happens to be one of my favorite holidays, not only because it’s the day before my birthday, but because it’s a great excuse to whip up an extravagant dinner, whether you’ve got an S.O. or not.
If you’re planning to prepare a classy steak dinner for the most romantic night of the year, might I suggest that you make some room on the plate for these cheesy (literally and figuratively) potato hearts? Everyone knows that Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes are better than circular pancakes. Ergo, according to that same principle, heart-shaped roasted potatoes are better than wedges. It’s that simple.
Russet potatoes are the best option for this kind of spud dish because they’re nice and starchy so they’ll hold their shape, plus they’ll get super crispy when you roast them. You’ll start by peeling the ’taters and slicing them lengthwise into quarter-inch planks. The wider and bigger your potato is, the more hearts you’ll get out of it. In order to get a cookie cutter through them, it’s best to quickly parboil them so that they are slightly softened. Once you’ve carved out the hearts, throw ’em on a sheet tray, toss ’em in oil and chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, and oregano are all great), and give ‘em a nice, hot roast for a delightfully golden brown exterior. In the last few minutes of baking, you’ll add grated garlic, grated Parmesan, and butter to make them extra rich and cheesy.
Keep in mind that because we’re playing with our food, there are going to be some extra scraps. Don’t toss ’em! You can either roast them up for a starchy snack or you can simmer and blend them into a creamy soup. In this house, we do not throw away potatoes. We may discard men, when necessary. But we’re certainly not wasting a perfectly delicious potato.
- 2 ½ lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch planks
- Kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp. canola oil
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- Flaky salt, for serving
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place potato planks in a large pot and cover with two inches of cold, heavily salted water. As soon as the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat, drain the planks, and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to carve as many hearts from the planks as you can. See tip below for reusing potato scraps.
Transfer potato hearts to sheet pan and toss with oil, herbs, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until bottoms are golden brown, 20 minutes. Remove from oven and flip potatoes. Roast until the other side is golden brown, another 10 minutes. Toss in garlic, Parmesan and butter, and roast until butter is melted and cheese is crispy, 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Tip: Don’t throw away the potato scraps. You can toss them on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite dried spices and roast them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until they’re crispy. Or, toss them in a soup and simmer them until tender. Blend and enjoy.