Feeling inspired after eating something very similar in France, and now that our Rayburn has been ceremonially lit for the winter, this week has been about revisiting hearty food from my roots. These oven-baked potatoes are the Maltese version of the French Boulangère or dauphinoise potato but without the cream and cheese. Patata Fil-Forn literally translates as potatoes cooked in the oven or roast potatoes.
The traditional way is to cook these with fennel seeds but I sometimes like to use fresh thyme. My Nana and Mum would both cook this side dish as an accompaniment to fish or other roast meats. It also works well with vegetarian mains and I often like to serve with roasted carrots cooked in thyme, honey and olive oil.
Maltese Roast Potatoes: PATATA FIL-FORN
1 kg of Maris Piper potatoes (around 8 small to medium sized potatoes)
2 finely sliced onions
225ml veggie stock
3 – 4 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato puree
1 tsp of dried fennel (or fresh thyme if you prefer this flavour)
Sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
- Peel and finely slice potatoes into thin slices, ideally using a mandolin.
- In an oven proof dish place the thinly sliced onions on the bottom and combine with a little olive oil. This is your ‘bed’ for the potatoes.
- Into the veggie stock add the fennel, tomato paste, salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic
- Spread the sliced potatoes on top of the onions
- Pour the stock mix over the potatoes and make sure the potatoes are covered throughout. It’s OK to move the potatoes around a little to make sure they’re coated. The water won’t reach the top, it should only immerse around a third or half of the dish.
- Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top, this will ensure a crisp top. Add a little extra sea salt to the top.
- Bake in the over for around one hour or a bit more, depending on how crispy you like it. Make sure the potatoes are cooked through.
Other Maltese Dishes
You can also find other Maltese recipes from my roots in other posts including how to make Maltese Stuffed Artichokes, and a hearty broad bean and pasta Maltese Soup called Kusksu or how to make Hobz biz-zejt the traditional sandwich found in any self-respecting Maltese beach cafe and then there’s the popular rustic weekday table supper Ross il-forn (baked rice).