I have often drooled over recipes of “packet”‘ fish or “packet” veggies but I never NEVER seem to have heavy duty aluminum foil to make them. I guess I could use layer upon layer of regular foil but I have had bad experiences trying to do things like this (think cheesecake! YOU know what I mean…). But something told me to buy some the other day at the grocery store and I actually listened. So today when inspiration struck I was prepared! For once! Woohoo!
There is just something wonderfully simple and convenient about making these. You can even prep them ahead of time (since you par-cook the potatoes in this they shouldn’t turn yucky colors on you). The foil packet holds in all of the moisture and flavor and you even get some charred goodness, as long as you don’t overfill your foil packets (you want to allow each piece as much contact with the foil as possible).
Another use-up-what’s-in-your-fridge-type-recipe, you can add whatever veggies you have to some sliced, par-cooked potatoes, mix in some fresh herbs and a bit of bacon and cook in a foil packet on a hot grill and you have an easy and mouth-watering side dish. Or main-course if you add some sliced kielbasa!
I used just about every herb that I have growing out in the garden so use what you like, for a total of about 1/4 cup, give or take a little bit. This recipe is totally an “eye-baller” so the amounts I’ve listed are really more like guidelines. The only thing I will say is that it’s important that the veggies and potatoes cook in about the same amount of time, therefore it is a good idea to par-cook your potatoes. Don’t be scared, this is super easy. Just slice em, put them in a bowl with some plastic wrap over the top and give ’em a zap in the microwave for about 5 minutes. If you use a veggie like carrots, which are also quite starchy and need some time to cook, you might want to do the same with them. I was using mushrooms and onions with my potatoes which cook relatively quickly so it was essential that I par-cook the potatoes. It worked out prefectly. This was an excellent side-dish to some grilled chicken and ciabatta bread.
PS- I made a compound butter for some cibatta bread using a softened stick of butter and a handful of the same herbs in my veggie packet. Mix that together, spread it on slices of bread and grill it! YUM! I thought about adding the butter itself to the packets but butter burns at high temperature so I would suggest sticking with bacon fat and/or oil in them.
Grilled Potato, Veggie & Herb Packets
- ½ lb. thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, sage, dill
- 2 scallions, finely sliced (green and white part), plus additional for garnish if desired
- 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. white button or Cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, and sliced (stems removed)
- 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced or roughly chopped
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
- Kosher Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive Oil, as needed
- Non-stick cooking spray
- In a medium non-stick skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat, render the bacon pieces until crispy, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes (start with a cold pan when you add the bacon and then turn the heat on). Remove bacon lardons from pan with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate. Reserve rendered fat in skillet off the heat.
- Preheat your oven to medium-high.
- Place scrubbed and thinly sliced potatoes in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes to partially cook the potatoes. Carefully remove plastic wrap (there will be steam) and thoroughly drain the bowl.
- To the bowl add the fresh herbs, scallions, red onion, mushrooms, pepper, garlic powder, cheese, vinegar, bacon fat, bacon pieces and season aggressively (or to taste) with salt and pepper. Add olive oil if there was not much bacon fat to add- you want there to be enough fat or oil to evenly coat the mixture to prevent sticking. Mix the contents of the bowl with a large pair of thongs until evenly combined.
- Rip off 4 large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil (they need to be about 12 X 14 inches in size). Spray one side of each piece of foil (the side that will be in the inside) with cooking spray. Spread ¼ of the potato mixture onto one half of each piece of foil and so that it is relatively even, with as much of the mixture making contact with the foil as possible.
- Fold the opposite side of each foil “packet” over the filling and crimp all sides tightly.
- Spray the entire outside of each foil packet with cooking spray to prevent them from sticking to the grill. (Do this before putting them on the grill so you don’t cause any flare-ups!).
- Grill packets on the hot grill with the cover down for about 15 minutes, flipping half-way through cooking.
- Remove packets from grill, cut open carefully and serve. Garnish with additional scallion slices if desired.