I can’t tell you how grateful I am that it’s finally new potato season. No matter how bad my spud cravings got, I just could not bring myself to buy the soft, eye-covered, green-skinned specimens that have been passing for potatoes at our local grocery store for the past few months. I really love potatoes so you can imagine how difficult this has been for me (cue tragic violin music.)
But at last the potato famine has ended and some fresh young thangs are finally showing up on the shelves. Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare potatoes – it’s easy and delicious and I love the way they get crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s also a nice way to showcase some fresh herbs.
And rosemary makes the perfect star. I got hooked on the stuff when we lived in Berkeley as our house had these enormous rosemary bushes growing in front of it and all along the sides. My but they were lovely! And so prolific, too. I would pick the stuff by the branchful, hanging them up and drying them to give to friends who were not as lucky as we in the edible plantings department. In a moment of Martha Stewart-like madness, I even drew one of the sprigs (see at right) and incorporated it in a label that I pasted on the packages of fragrant needles. Ah, the things I used to have time for before my son was born…
Now that we’re back on the East Coast, our rosemary production is on a bit smaller scale since it’s got to fit into a flowerpot (albeit a pretty big one) in order to allow us to move it indoors during the winters. But our plant seems to be thriving, despite the long, dark winter it spent inside craning its finely needled branches towards the dim light at the window. I moved it outside about a month ago to let it soak up some sun.
Next: the recipe
I scrubbed the potatoes, minced some garlic, picked some of the deliciously-scented green rosemary needles, gave them a wash, chopped them coarsely, and tossed them with the potatoes, a big glug of olive oil, a few grinds of black pepper and a big pinch of salt. Then turned them out into my favorite roasting dish and popped them into the hot oven.
I recommend using a coarser-grained salt that will stand on its own better than fine-grained salts can. It’s nice to have that little bit of salty crunch along with the rosemary’s strong aromatic flavor.
These potatoes are very good on their own and make a great side, too.
Roasted New Potatoes With Fresh Rosemary & Sea Salt
* 1 lb small new potatoes, scrubbed of all dirt and with any blemishes cut out. If the potatoes are different sizes, cut them into equal-sized pieces as you want them to roast at the same rate
* 2-3 tsps fresh rosemary, washed, dried and chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
* 3-4 Tbsps olive oil
* 2 tsps coarse sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the potatoes, herbs, oil, garlic, salt and a few grinds of black pepper thoroughly. You want each potato to be coated in oil.
2. Spread them in a single jumbled layer on a thick-bottomed cookie sheet or in a glass or ceramic baking dish and roast for 35-45 minutes (this will depend on how large your ‘taters are). Do not forget to check them after 15-20 minutes and turn them all to prevent burning. If your oven heats unevenly (as mine does) you may want to check and turn them earlier twice while they’re roasting instead of just once.
3. Once tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.