I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I’m pretty sure I’ve officially survived another Boston summer. It’s a little too early to say for sure– we could still have a couple of muggy days ahead– but for several days now, the air has been crisp and the breeze has been cool, and I’ve been wearing jackets out of necessity, not just for fashion. Looks like fall is just around the corner.
It seems kind of strange to brag about surviving the summer in Boston, but listen, I’ll take winter over summer any day, because while our apartment lacks air conditioning, it has excellent radiators, plus a heat-absorbing microfiber couch, a host of blankets, one space heater, and at least two appliances that make hot, comforting beverages. Bring it on.
Since the weather has cooled over the last week or so, I’ve felt much more comfortable using the oven (oh, heat box, I’ve missed you!). And one of my favorite things to make in the oven is a simple side of herb-roasted potatoes, a dish that will improve any dinner, whether your dinner is a simple salad or a slab of roasted meat. It’s one of the first dishes I learned to make, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.
I’ve actually been meaning to share this recipe for quite a while. Problem is, I can never seem to remember to take a photo of the finished product before devouring the entire pan. That seems to be the issue with blogging about my dinner; after fiddling with the camera throughout the entire cooking process, who really wants to delay the meal for even more photos? It just slips my mind every time. In fact, I’m cobbling together photos from a couple different attempts for this one post.
See? This was a picture from weeks ago. You can tell, because that time I used an assortment of different potatoes. (It’s a nice touch, which I highly recommend.) You can see here that the recipe consists of little more than a dish full of diced potatoes and a handful of herbs and spices you probably already have in your cabinet.
If the spice mixture is reminding you of the flavor powder on a bag of Doritos… then we’re on the same wavelength.
In addition to the dried ingredients, I also use fresh pressed garlic. I understand that there is some debate in the food community about whether the garlic press is a respectable tool. I was surprised to learn this, since my family has used a garlic press for as long as I can remember; it seemed no more controversial than a simple wooden spoon. But now that I know that there are some people who refuse to use the press, I guess I should concede that minced garlic would also work in this recipe. Personally, I really like the way the press both minces and juices the garlic– it gets every possible bit of flavor out of the clove, which is great for a garlic fan like me– but if you don’t have one, it’s really not necessary to run out and buy one for the sake of one simple potato dish.
After the herbs and spices are sprinkled onto the potatoes, the whole mixture gets tossed with olive oil and popped into the oven. It’s as easy as that. The potatoes cook for about half an hour, so that gives you time to put the rest of your meal together while you wait. My favorite way to serve these potatoes is with a pork chop and fresh green beans sauteed with salt, pepper, a tiny bit of sugar, and– yup– more garlic.
I tried to take a picture of that exact meal, but that was after I’d eaten more than half of it and remembered that, once again, I’d forgotten the final photo. I’d show you the photo I ended up with, but it’s really not worth your time. Just try to imagine the potatoes with crispy edges and nice, almost-crackly skins, with a tiny bit of olive oil-herb mixture in the bottom of the pan. Or better yet, make a batch for your dinner. You’ll be glad you did.
Herb Roasted Potatoes
from Southern Living, circa 2001
12 new potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (red pepper flakes are also nice!)
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Toss all ingredients together in a 13×9 baking dish.* Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.
*I actually use a 9×9 glass baking dish. I’ve always had good luck, but sometimes I do give it a stir midway through baking, since the smaller dish means more than one layer of potatoes.