Saturday, July 02, 2005

Roasted Potatoes

This is a simple preparation I came up with after finding wonderful roasted potatoes in several Italian restaurants in London. This is by no means the recipe they use--the potato varieties are quite different--but it's become one of my favorites.

I've read a lot of recipes that call for parboiling potatoes before roasting and what not, but I don't find that necessary at all. The real key seems to be having good new potatoes. My favorite is a bag of mixed potatoes that I pick up at the Marion Square farmer's market (which is held every Saturday in downtown Charleston) from a stall run by a woman who grows them on a family farm out on Wardmalaw Island. For three bucks I can get a generous-sized bag of small round red, white, and purple new potatoes along with wonderful little yellow fingerlings. When I can't make it down to the market, new red potatoes from the supermarket work pretty well. The fresher the potatoes the better.

All I do is cut the potatoes into bite sized chunks (leaving them whole if they are really small potatoes, quartering medium-sized ones) and toss them in a baking dish--I usually use a ceramic au-gratin dish that I line with foil to make clean-up easier. Drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika over the top, toss on a little minced parsely, then pop the pan into a 400 degree oven for about an hour. Every fifteen minutes or so I'll pull the dish out and toss the potatoes around so they'll cook evenly. I like to wait until they are crispy brown all over the edges before serving.

Simple as can be, but really good. I like to serve these with red-meat dishes like veal saltimbocca (another of my favorites picked up from Italian restaurants in London) and braised short ribs, which is what I'm having tonight.

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