In honor of the lowly spud, who is much maligned by the food puritans because it is so delicious, I offer up this very simple recipe. It’s what we’re having tonight as a side dish to my roasted Chicken Cacciatore. It is delicious, easy, nutritious and so very good for your mental and physical health. Enjoy!
Servings: 3-6, depending on how hungry people are and what you’re serving this with
Time: 10 minutes to prepare; 30-45 minutes to cook
- 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil
- 2 Pounds small potatoes
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- A few grinds of pepper
- Heat your oven to 375 F. Make sure that it heats for at least 10 minutes.
- Use a roasting pan large enough to hold all your potatoes in a single layer. If you don’t have a roasting pan, use a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil.
- Measure and pour oil into baking pan. If using a cookie sheet, put the oil in a bowl.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over the oil and mix it together.
- If your potatoes are really small, just dump them into the pan/bowl. If they aren’t, or if they are different sizes, you need to cut them into pieces about 2 inches in size. This may mean just chopping them in half, or into quarters.
- Stir them around in the oil and seasoning mixture and get them nice and coated.
- If you mixed the potatoes up in a bowl, dump them and any remaining oil onto the cookie sheet.
- Spread the potatoes out into a single layer in the pan/cookie sheet.
- Pop them in the oven for 30 minutes. Check to see if they are easy to poke through with a knife, skewer or sharp fork tines. If they aren’t quite done, give them a stir and cook another 15 minutes.
- Serve them up as a great side dish to just about anything
This is neither “good” nor “bad” food – it’s just plain, old food. It is nutritious because potatoes and oil have nutrients that your body needs and uses to keep you alive. It is really tasty and one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes. If all you usually eat are french fried potatoes, this shares a lot of the same flavor and texture qualities, but with more potato, kind of like half way between fried and baked potatoes. It tastes good the next day, too, either cold/room temperature like a potato salad, or warmed up in an oven or microwave.
- Cooking Oil – It can be whatever you have available that can withstand a fairly high roasting temperature. I’m using olive oil, but canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, etc. will do just fine. If you have bacon grease or lard, that is really good, too. Butter may burn at the roasting temperature and coconut oil may be too strongly flavored. Don’t use sesame oil, which won’t be able to withstand the heat.
- Small Potatoes – You want these to roast in their skins at the same rate, so getting a uniform size of potato is more important than the specific kind. It does need to be something with a delicate enough skin that you don’t have to peel it. White potatoes, red potatoes, fingerling, gold, baby – they’re all good. One thing I like doing is cutting the potatoes in half, then carefully setting them cut side down in the baking dish for the initial 30 minutes. This puts the cut side in contact with the hot oil and the hot pan, and gives you a nice, browned crust on the flat of the potato because the starch of the potato cooks crispy.
- Other Spices – You don’t have to stick with just salt & pepper. Add 1/2 teaspoon of other spices if you have them and if they go with whatever else you’re serving. Smoked paprika is one of my favorites. Curry powder, hot or regular, adds a great burst of flavor, as will garam masala. If you like Old Bay, this is great, but omit the salt since Old Bay already has a lot of salt in it. Ground chipotle pepper will give you a spicy kick. A squeeze of lemon juice at the end is great during the summer. A mix of cumin and coriander is good, too.