I love a steamed potato, especially when eaten hot, broken open, and glossed up with some softened butter and salt. And that’s the primary reason I found myself with cold leftover steamed potatoes one day; I cut them in half, then reheated them in olive oil until they were robustly browned on the flat side. The two-step cooking process is a little involved, but the results are crazy-good and absolutely foolproof.
If the potatoes stick and don’t want to release from the pan, let them keep cooking for a minute or two more before trying again. They will eventually form a nice sturdy crust as they brown.
This will work with any type of potato except sweet potatoes, which have too much moisture.
- Fill a pot with a few inches of water, then set a steamer basket in the pot. Bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Scrub potatoes, then place in steamer basket. Cover and cook until the potatoes are completely tender when pierced with a cake tester (or cut one of the larger ones in half to check), 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and let cool completely, then halve them lengthwise. (To do ahead, let the uncut potatoes cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)
- Heat a large (10-inch) heavy skillet over medium-high. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom (about 3 tablespoons). Working in batches if necessary, place potatoes in pan, cut side down, and cook, undisturbed, until the surfaces are crisp and very dark mahogany in color, 7 to 10 minutes. Rotate pan occasionally to help them cook evenly, but keep them cut side down.
- Transfer to a serving platter, cut side up, and season with salt. Serve immediately, or transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in a 350°F oven for up to 30 minutes before serving.