I’ve been in sort of a cooking rut for the last month or so.  Not only have I been busy traveling, but the weather has alternated infuriatingly between summer and winter, preventing me from fully embracing the gorgeous spring produce I’m so looking forward to.  It’s also severely affecting my ability to breathe, as my allergies have spiraled out of control of late, but that’s a story for another day.

A story for this day, however, is the one about these potatoes – because unlike the weather and my sinuses, I am very much ready for summer.  I’m already looking forward to beach weather and rediscovering a desire to eat a garden-fresh salad for dinner, as opposed to thick, tummy-warming chili.  Unfortunately, the farmer’s market isn’t quite with me.  Yes, we’ve gotten asparagus from the grocery store that was shipped from God-knows-where, and I had my first Sam Summer of the season last weekend, but the Jersey tomatoes, corn, and strawberries that we rave about all summer long have yet to make their triumphant return.  And it’s a damn shame, I tell you, because I’m 1,000% sure they’ll be enthusiastically received when they finally do show up.

Till then, I’m stuck with winter’s scraggly remnants.  I realize I’m not alone in this, and that most food bloggers worth their salt have been writing about their potato/squash/Brussel sprout woes for months now.  But just because I was stuck with potatoes didn’t mean I couldn’t make them summer-y – the weather outside was gorgeous and spring-like, and I challenged my kitchen to replicate the sunshiny promise of the warmer months ahead.  Doused in  what is essentially a lemon dressing/sauce, these potatoes manage to be light and fresh, with an unexpected bite.  Satisfying and healthful, a month or so before I wriggle into a bikini?  Yes – I think this was a wise choice.

Lemony Potatoes

2 potatoes, washed, peeled and slices into 1/4 – 1/2-inch slices

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

2 – 3 tbsp olive oil (the more oil you add, the less acidic the final product will be)

Salt, to taste

1 tsp garlic

2 – 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems

1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped baby spinach

Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Butter the bottom of a glass baking dish (you want it to be large enough to spread the potatoes out evenly, without much overlap/crowding.

In a bowl, mix water, lemon juice and spices, then whisk in the dressing until the whole thing comes together.  Add potatoes to the bowl, mix to coat the potatoes.  Pour all of it into the baking dish (liquid and all), and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender, but not browned.  The liquid should have thickened in the oven.

Remove from the oven, but don’t turn it off.  Add the spinach and cheese, then cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the spinach wilts completely.  Remove from oven, stir, and serve immediately.

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