Nancy Silverton, the James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur, may be known for her magic touch with bread, pizza, and pastries, but in her cooking class for YesChef — a subscription-based streaming platform offering cinematic cooking classes taught by world-renowned chefs — she’s gently coaxing the flavor out of buttery-soft potatoes. “What I love doing is cooking them until they’re almost cooked before finishing them in the oven,” Silverton says of the potatoes, which she confits in an aromatic bath of olive oil, butter, garlic cloves, and herbs.
In this recipe, Silverton pairs the potatoes with bagna cauda, an Italian sauce of sharp garlic and briny, salty anchovies. Once the potatoes are tender to a knife’s poke and have steeped in the warm oil until cool, Silverton spoons some reserved oil onto a sheet pan, and transfers over the halved potatoes.
The spuds crisp in a hot oven while Silverton prepares bagna cauda to go alongside. “This is really to taste,” she says, “it’s not science.” Silverton likes her bagna cauda to telegraph the pungent taste of garlic, and a kick of saltiness from anchovies, so she goes heavy on both ingredients. Though the sauce is traditionally eaten as a dip with raw vegetables, Silverton likes the way anchovies pair with creamy bufala mozzarella or, in this case, tender potatoes.
In a mortar, Silverton smashes 12 cloves of garlic — you read that right — and a small school of anchovies until the mixture is an emulsified paste. This fishy combination meets melted butter on the stove, letting the garlic and anchovy simmer and the flavors meld. “It’s so good,” Silverton says, tasting the finished dipping sauce. “I would take a warm bath in this any day.”
Using just eight ingredients, Silverton turns out a dish in which potatoes feel elegant and anchovies are the star of the show. With a bag of potatoes, and enough garlic and tinned fish, you can too. — Elazar Sontag
Roasted Potatoes With Bagna Cauda Recipe
For the roasted potatoes:
3 pounds German Butterball potatoes (Butterball potatoes are fluffy, creamy, and soft; if you can’t find them, substitute with Yukon Gold potatoes)
1¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
2 fresh sage sprigs, divided
4 whole garlic cloves, divided
For the bagna cauda:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
20 anchovy fillets (preferably salt-packed), rinsed, back bones removed if salt-packed, finely chopped, and smashed with the flat side of a knife
12 garlic cloves
1 hot red chile pepper such as Calabrian or Thai bird
1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped, optional
Spanish oil-packed anchovies, optional
For the roasted potatoes:
Step 1: Adjust the oven rack to the floor of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.