These 4-Ingredient Garlicky Potatoes Are My Favorite Spring Side Dish

published Mar 30, 2021
Kitchn Love Letters
Ukrainian Dill Potatoes

The dish is just four humble ingredients — potatoes, dill, garlic, and sunflower oil — but their combination is magical.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Credit: Alex Shytsman

As a Ukrainian immigrant, I can confidently say potatoes are the backbone of our cuisine. We cook them in dozens of different ways, for all occasions (both festive and casual), and we eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

When I was growing up in Ukraine, we’d have potatoes on a near-daily basis, whether fried, baked, mashed, or stuffed into varenyky. Needless to say, whatever percent of my body that isn’t made up of water is probably made of potatoes. And while choosing my most-loved style of Ukrainian potato is not unlike picking a favorite child, a strong case can be made for these garlicky potatoes with dill.

Credit: Alexandra Shytsman

The 4-Ingredient Spring Side Dish You Need

This side dish is made of just four humble ingredients — potatoes, dill, garlic, and sunflower oil — but their combination is magical. With each bite of creamy boiled potato you get a grassy hit of fresh dill and a kick from raw garlic, all brought together by the nutty aroma of virgin sunflower oil (the hallmark ingredient of Ukrainian cooking). We would eat them for breakfast alongside pickled herring, sprats, or salty smoked mackerel (a killer combination I’d take over Eggs Benedict any day), but also for dinner with chicken cutlets or fried fish.

Back in Ukraine my mom would make these potatoes in spring and summer, when new potatoes and fresh dill could be found in abundance at the Odessa farmers market (our local bazaar). All of our produce came from the bazaar, and was local and organic by default. There was some imported produce in supermarkets (a brand-new concept to post-Soviet Ukraine in the ’90s), but it was sold at astronomical prices and wasn’t accessible to families like ours, so that meant that we ate with the seasons. These potatoes were a true celebration of spring.

Credit: Alexandra Shytsman

3 Tips for the Absolute Best Dill Potatoes

  1. Don’t skimp on the sunflower oil. The key to these potatoes is unrefined sunflower oil, which has a golden yellow color and a nutty, floral taste. It can be found in tall plastic bottles in any Russian or eastern European store, and on Amazon. Just like a fancy olive oil, it’s used as a finishing oil, so it’s great in salads, with beans, or on grilled bread. Here, you’ll toss the cooked potatoes in a full quarter-cup, which may seem like too much, but they should be just a little greasy.
  2. Boil small potatoes whole. If you have tiny new potatoes, feel free to just boil them whole. Bigger potatoes should be cut into 1-inch chunks. I start cooking potatoes in cold water (versus adding them to boiling water) so they cook more evenly.
  3. Use a garlic press. While I know garlic presses can get a bad rap (I think it has to do with them being a one-trick pony), pressing garlic releases its essential oils and results in the tiniest garlic pieces, meaning your food gets evenly and intensely perfumed with garlic flavor. It’s my far my preferred tool for prepping the garlic for these potatoes.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.

Ukrainian Dill Potatoes

The dish is just four humble ingredients — potatoes, dill, garlic, and sunflower oil — but their combination is magical.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds

    small new potatoes

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/4 cup

    unrefined sunflower oil

  • 1/2 cup

    finely chopped fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Measure 2 pounds new potatoes: If they’re about an inch in diameter, leave them whole. If they’re larger, cut into 1-inch chunks, making sure all the potatoes are roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.

  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer with the lid ajar until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, being careful not to overcook them, 12 to 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, finely grate 3 garlic cloves on a Microplane or run through a garlic press and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup sunflower oil and stir to combine. Finely chop fresh dill until you have 1/2 cup.

  4. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the garlic oil, dill, and a pinch of kosher salt. Gently toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

Recipe Notes

Oil options: 2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons walnut oil can be substituted for the sunflower oil.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.