When I moved to a downtown Boston studio, I sadly said goodbye to summer grilling. Happily, though, I can now grill vicariously through my boyfriend, whose condo has a little deck just big enough for a table, two chairs, and a Weber charcoal grill. I’ll admit that I still haven’t mastered the art of charcoal grilling (so much more work than lighting that camp stove), but I do enjoy the slightly less experimental, more traditional meals he prepares out there, with my occasional help.
One of Julie’s and my great grill discoveries was the tastiness of grilled fingerling potatoes. So the other night when Mike was grilling babyback ribs, I suggested potatoes for a side dish instead of corn on the cob. When I’ve done this in the past, I’ve strung the little potatoes on bamboo skewers (soaked for several minutes in water to minimize charring). The problem with this method – and the same applies more or less with metal skewers – is the difficulty of turning the potatoes. The little guys just want to spin around on the skewers, so that one side ends up over-grilled and the other underdone.
So here’s the trick: skewer your potatoes onto not one but two bamboo skewers. This keeps them in line so they flip uniformly when you turn them rather than the maddening rotation associated with the single skewer. I found, though, that stabbing the bamboo skewers through the potatoes was tricky. After some frustration (and some fear of stabbing myself with the bamboo), I took out a metal skewer which was much more effective for the initial potato punctures, which I spaced about ¾ of an inch apart (working on a large wooden chopping board). Then it was a snap to string each potato easily onto a pair of bamboo skewers.
I brushed each set of potatoes generously with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and they were ready for the grill.
Even small potatoes take awhile to cook thoroughly. We had these on the grill for about forty-five minutes, turning periodically (and easily!) for even cooking. The result was delicious. The potatoes slid off the skewers onto our plates, and were soft and moist on the inside, and deliciously salty and crusty on the outside. A delectable, simple summer side dish.
Lesson learned: Never send a bamboo skewer in to do a metal skewer’s job.