I don’t make any bones about it: I love potatoes. Always have. Always will. I have stood by them in the low-carb-no-carb-paleo onslaught. They’re full of Vitamin C and a bunch of B vitamins, potassium, and dietary fiber (especially if you eat the skin). Plus, their versatile deliciousness never fails to woo my tastebuds.
If loving the potato is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
We had stopped at Ard’s, a little (yet ever-expanding) market stand/BBQ stand/farm stand/Christmas tree stand (seasonally, of course) and home of the autumn corn maze to see what fresh goods we could get our meathooks on, since some friends were coming for dinner. Much to our delight, Ard’s had pints of adorable, multi-colored baby potatoes just begging us to buy them. What could we do? Two pints came home with us, to be trimmed and roasted and tossed with tasty things and served to people whose opinions we greatly value. This dish looks great, tastes great, and is suuuuuuuuuuuuuper-super simple, to boot. Here’s what you need:
- 2 pints baby potatoes, any color-ilk-type. It would theoretically “work” with large potatoes chopped up, but you wouldn’t get that satisfying potato skin snap in every bite so why deprive yourself of that if you can avoid it?
- 1-2 teaspoons dried rosemary; determine how much you would like to use by how pungent your rosemary is and how much you like it. I love it. I went for both full teaspoons.
- Olive oil to coat the potatoes.
- Salt & pepper, to taste, but remember you’ll be coating the potatoes in olives at the end, so maybe go easy on the salt when you roast, yes?
- 1/4 cup (but a generous one) pitted black olives; I used Kalamata, ground in a food processor or blender.
That’s it. Prepare to be amazed.
Preheat your oven to 400°. Then wash and trim your potatoes. If any of them are large-ish, cut them in half. Put them in a mixing bowl or, if you prefer and have a pan with a high enough side for mixing, the roasting pan you’re going to cook them in. Toss with rosemary, salt, pepper, and oil.
Put them in the oven so the alchemical synergy that comes from potatoes + rosemary can work its mysterious business. I have no idea what it is that makes the rosemary/potato relationship so special; I just know that the first time I ate a roasted rosemary potato, it was like a herd of unicorn burst into my kitchen, aimed their horns and blasted rainbows on my plate.
So full of win.
They’ll probably be in the oven for about 45 minutes or so but check them after 20 minutes, and then after another 20, and stir them around so they’ll cook evenly and won’t burn. And so on, until they are fluffy and soft and yield to the fork you’ll use to test them for soft fluffiness. I confess, I generally get annoyed because I mistakenly think that potatoes shouldn’t take as long to cook as they do. Thus I have a terrible tendency to undercook them, which is not unicorn-rainbow-blast good but rather, awkward and sad like a naked turtle running a footrace.
While the potatoes are roasting, measure out your olives and get them ready. When I said a “generous” quarter-cup, I meant it. I probably should have crammed one or two more in there, now that I look…
Grind these up in a food processor or blender, unless you’re a nonna or are Amish or are a self-nominee for kitchen martyr of the year or eschew electrical devices for some reason and feel a need to go at these with a knife or mortar and pestle or something. (Because you’re not really cooking unless you make things slick with olive oil?) Once they’re ground, set them aside until the potatoes are done.
Here’s the kicker.
Mix the olives in with the potatoes, et voila! Le dish, she is finis.
They’re savory, salty, pungent, crisp, fluffy, and all-around amazing. They’re a great side dish for just about everything, from chicken to crêpes, and they’re one of the (surprisingly few) dishes that has worked its way into my go-to, “haven’t had these in a while and I’m craving them must eat must have must eat must have” repertoire.
Let me put it this way: If Mario Batali were coming over for dinner, these are the potatoes I would make. After I finished passing out and picked myself back up off the floor.