For most people in the US of A, myself included, french fries are the primary way that we consume potatoes. Sure, we eat mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and heaped atop shepherd’s pies, and certainly a fair number of potatoes turn into potato chips. But mostly, we eat fries. I even figured out how to make my own a few months ago, and boy oh boy are they delicious.
But I’d like to propose that we overthrow King French Fry from its mighty throne over potatoes everywhere. I don’t want to kick ’em out, just bring them back down on an equal plane with other potatoes.
And in the vacuum, let’s make THESE instead.
Despite the fact that I grew up enjoying new potatoes from my grandparents’ garden every summer, I had never once before this spring considered buying a batch of teeny little potatoes to make at home. My dad was in town to visit so I decided to try out a recipe I’d been eying in the beautiful Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The author herself (eeeee! I met her!) said that her Flat Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes seems to be one of the more popular among her readers, so with an excellent excuse like company in the house, I gave it a shot. The chicken was delicious, but it was the potatoes that stole my heart.
Tiny and tender, they literally burst in your mouth with warm, fresh flavor. Because they are so small, you can roast them whole, which keeps them moist inside with a slightly crispy skin outside. They make the most excellent side dish to, well, everything: chicken, pork chops, vegetables, burgers, steaks… I couldn’t possibly wait until I had another whole chicken to make these potatoes again.
Though the flavor is not identical, you don’t need a chicken draped across these potatoes to make them really, really delightful. In a small baking dish, all you need to add is a little olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
Now the truth is that these are not fast food: these little guys need a 45 minute ride in the oven to reach crispy, roasted perfection. They could probably even stand to stay in there a bit longer, if you have the time. But really, it’s just about right: pop these in the oven before you begin cooking whatever else you’re making in your meal, and by the time you’re done, you’ll have a simple but utterly delightful side dish for whatever is on your menu.
Roasted Tiny Potatoes
Inspired by The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 – 1 1/2 pounds tiny potatoes (new potatoes, pee wee creamers, fingerlings, or similar)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly wash potatoes and lightly pat dry to remove excess water. Dump potatoes into a medium, oven-safe dish so that potatoes are spread no more than two deep. Lightly drizzle 1 T of olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes and mix with a spoon to spread the seasoning evenly.
Roast uncovered for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes and adding the remaining olive oil halfway through. Skins should begin to wrinkle and brown slightly.
Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before serving. Serve with EVERYTHING.