The Best “Roasted Potatoes” of My Life!
These are freshly-dug potatoes, and they are the most important part of this recipe. They should have a paper thin skin that can be accidentally peeled away with just the slightest pressure from a thumb or finger.
Store bought potatoes are satisfactory but not best. I dig my potatoes a day or two before I’m going to roast them to give the skins an opportunity to firm up a bit. I also don’t wash them until time to cook them. This is to help preserve the thin, tender skins.
Late spring and early summer is when my potatoes are ready for digging. Red Norland potatoes have been in my garden every spring since I’ve been in my house. They are just about the easiest vegetable to grow as long as they have good soil and are kept well mounded.
This would probably never be called a “gourmet” recipe because it is so basic and uncomplicated with no special sauce or hours of complex preparation. The real work and love is in making sure that the potatoes are grown in good soil and tended to carefully and organically.
(I think it’s much easier to get all of the equipment out first, so rather than starting with a list of ingredients, I will be starting with a list of equipment and materials. This way you can get everything organized ahead of time.)
- 12 inch cast iron skillet (or baking sheet, but there is just something special about using a cast iron skillet)
- Cutting board and knife
- Oven mitt
- Kitchen tongs
Preheat oven to 400° with cast iron skillet on the center rack. Meanwhile, wash off and let dry:
6 to 8 medium- to small-sized potatoes
Cut into wedges. For medium-sized potatoes, I cut them into eighths. For smaller-sized potatoes, I cut them into sixths. Each wedge should have a piece of the potatoes skin on it.
Place potato wedges into the bowl.
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toss gently to coat potato wedges on all sides.
Remove cast iron skillet from oven and add:
1 tablespoon olive oil
Tilt skillet from side to side to coat the bottom.
Place potato wedges in the skillet with the skin side down. This will minimize sticking and it will also expose the cut sides of the potato wedges to the oven’s dry heat for better roasting. There may be a little bit of sizzling, and that is fine.
You may need to place a few wedges on top of others. Too many will cause uneven roasting, and you don’t want to have to stir or rearrange them halfway through roasting because the sides without any skin on them will stick to the pan.
Sprinkle potatoes with:
Freshly ground pepper
You can add more later at the table if desired.
Place into oven and roast for 45 minutes. If you are using a different type of pan, your time may be different. Remove roasted potatoes with kitchen tongs.
Serves two. You will never have enough no matter how many potatoes you start with!
What makes these especially good is the way that the outer surfaces get lightly golden-browned and seal each wedge so that the potato has a soft, rich, creamy texture inside. You may even find that yours have a smooth buttery texture and taste almost like mashed potatoes that are loaded with butter, but there is no butter in the recipe! And very little olive oil as well!
This is the basic recipe, and I have tried other variations that included garlic and onions and rosemary, even some Old Bay seasoning. The first roasted potatoes of the year are always prepared in this very simple way.
There are plenty of opportunities to experiment, but if you want just a good reliable recipe, this is the one! Just be sure to use freshly dug potatoes for the best flavor and texture and adjust according to the skillet or pan that you are using.