I’m sure we all have certain foods that instantly remind us of our childhood. I have a few. Tonight I was craving one of them: little potatoes.
After Mom died, my brother asked me for two recipes. The Passover mandel bread and “the little potatoes.” That’s what Mom called them and it’s what we’ve always called them. I knew I had both recipes in my recipe box.
About 10 years ago, shortly after moving into our house, I was preparing to make dinner one evening. I decided I wanted to make the little potatoes, but I could not find the recipe anywhere. I called Mom. [oh how I miss calling Mom] I asked her for the potato recipe and I remember her laughing. She mentioned that my brother had recently called to ask her for the potato recipe as well. As she started telling me the recipe, I quickly grabbed a piece of scrap paper so I wouldn’t need to ask again. I jotted down her instructions exactly as she said them. I can hear the whole conversation in my head every time I look at this paper.
I used this scrap paper to have the same conversation with Mom’s sister, my Aunt Judy, who also called to ask if I had this recipe after Mom died. I could hear myself saying it exactly the way she had said it to me.
Mom made these potatoes with many of our dinners growing up. I can understand why. They are pretty easy to throw together, you can leave them in the oven while you are cooking other things, it’s practically impossible to ruin them, and they are delicious.
The outside gets crisp and slightly crunchy, but the inside stays soft. I find them mildly addictive and instantly comforting.
My brother says this must be some sort of “Depression Era” recipe because it calls for canned potatoes. I’ve never made it exactly the same way with anything other than the canned potatoes. I prefer the cans that indicate “no salt added” if I can find them.
You will need:
- 2-4 cans of whole white potatoes (depending on serving size, I tend to use three cans to serve 4 people)
- olive oil or canola oil, enough to coat the potatoes
- cooking spray to spray the pan
- paprika, seasoned salt, pepper to taste (add other spices as you like)
- matzo meal – just enough to lightly sprinkle on top of the potatoes
Preheat oven to 350 or 375 degrees.
Cover a large cooking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
Open the cans of potatoes. Drain, rinse and then pat dry.
If any of the potatoes are big, cut so that the potatoes are all similar sizes. Place all of the potatoes in a single layer on the cooking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings to your taste. Stir to coat evenly.
Sprinkle the matzo meal lightly on top. You don’t want to put too much matzo meal or it will burn.
Put tray in oven for and bake for 30-60 minutes, or until crispy. Stir occasionally.