Sumac Roasted Potatoes with Salted Lemon Yogurt

Behold, grilling season approaches! (Or, depending on where you live, is already upon you!) One of the many things I love about grilling is that I don’t have to worry about the main event of the meal — usually meat but sometimes a grilled pizza or some vegetable skewers. But then I do this thing where I kind of forget about, uh, the rest of the meal. Sides? A salad? Something? Do you do this too?

This recipe has become my go-to when I need a good side that’s ready in the time it takes the charcoal to heat and the chicken or sausages or burgers to cook. Or, in cooler months, I let these be the only hands-on thing I deal with while I throw something meaty and some herbs in the Instant Pot. The dish relies pretty much exclusively on staples: potatoes, Greek yogurt, lemons. If you don’t have sumac, it’s a solid one-stop spice for so much, not just potatoes. Make the small investment (it comes in a big 12 ounce bag for a few bucks at international grocery stores) and use liberally.

Something else about this is that I’ve come to a place in life where I’m ready to admit my belief that all potatoes require a condiment. Mashed needs gravy. Boiled needs butter and herbs. Roasted or baked needs a green sauce or a creamy, spiked yogurt situation like this one. It’s reminiscent, of course, of the baked potato-sour cream combo but not quite so heavy. And much like the sumac that plays so well with so much, the salted lemon yogurt is a back-pocket miracle that is your answer when you think you’re out of answers. I started playing around with it a few years ago when I started making the fried eggs & lemon yogurt from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories (still a favorite kitchen friend), then started adding the zest and some garlic and, occasionally, chopped fresh herbs to create a condiment that doesn’t know how not to be best friends with pretty much anything. A swipe is indeed perfect under some crispy fried eggs next to thick sourdough toast on weekends, or alongside chicken and veggie skewers, or dolloped onto pureed soups. It comes together in, I don’t know, maybe a minute? Though you can certainly make it as soon as the potatoes go in to roast and let the garlic settle a bit.


Sumac Roasted Potatoes with Salted Lemon Yogurt

Serves 8

For the Potatoes:

16 small yellow potatoes, cut in half

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sumac

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro or mint (or both!), optional, for serving

For the Lemon Yogurt:

2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 small garlic clove, grated

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Make the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400F.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water liberally and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. (They’ll continue cooking in the oven.)

Drain the potatoes and add to a large bowl. Dress with the olive oil and toss to coat. Add the sumac and abundant salt and pepper and toss again until the potatoes are evenly coated. Spread the potatoes out across a large baking sheet, or use two — the goal is to give them lots of space. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once or twice during that time to allow the potatoes to brown evenly.

Make the yogurt: In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Stir until evenly combined. You can make this up to three days in advance, and even double it if you’d like to use it for other things (highly recommended).

Scatter the herb/s, if using, over the potatoes and serve the yogurt alongside.

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