1.10.2011

Roasted Potatoes

Last summer while vacationing in a rented house in Michigan with my brother's family, I watched my boys joyfully wolf down Aunt Amy's roasted potatoes. I was never much of a potato lover, more of a bread eater, really. But since I recently slashed the amount of bread, pasta and other gluten foods in our house getting these potatoes right became a priority.

Angel/Sister-in-law Amy was there to help. The trick, she finally pounded into me, is to cook those suckers a good long while and if you don't have the time, don't bother. Then, after they cook for an hour or so, broil them until crispy.

Months later (last Saturday to be exact) I gave it a go working from Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Potatoes applying Angel Amy's methods. It was a perfect match. To me they tasted like they had been injected with a magic potion. My oldest son said they tasted like french fries. Score.

Recipe

These take about 90 minutes start to finish (including prep) so be prepared. I've added to Barefoot Contessa's original recipe the option for an extra 1/2 pound of potatoes for leftover lovers and to max out on the long cook time.

1 1/2-2 pounds small red, white and/or yellow skinned potatoes, unpeeled (not russets!), scrubbed clean
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4-1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
2-3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (I used dried thyme, about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Put them in a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and stir them around with a spoon or your hands and get them well coated with the oil. Then sprinkle in salt, pepper, garlic and herbs. Give them a good toss. Arrange them on a rimmed baking sheet cut side down so they are flat. Push them around the pan a bit, keeping them flat, so they all soak up the oil and seasonings. If there's any oil/seasoning left in the bowl, spoon it out and sprinkle it on the potatoes. I especially like each piece to have a chard or two of garlic on them.

Here's where Barefoot Contessa and I part ways: she says to flip them during cooking. I say leave them for one hour without doing anything. Then remove the potatoes from the oven and see if you can loosen one; if it looks brown on the flat side you should be able to flip the rest (if they don't look done, try 10 more minutes). Do so carefully as not to rip off the browned side. If you can flip them easily (no sticking) but they don't look brown (but hour's up) that's okay. They'll brown during the next step. However, make sure they look and feel cooked and a bit soft (you can pierce one with a fork).

After you flip them move the oven rack to the highest position and turn on the broiler. Put the baking sheet back in for 5-10 minutes until the flat side looks brown and crispy as you like. Check them often as they broil so they don't burn.

Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Next day you can reheat them in the microwave, but cover with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out (thanks Angel Jackie for that suggestion).

I know, I know, this takes a while. So cook these when you're stuck at home doing something anyway, like waiting for the cable guy.

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