Small Things
Published On: December 14, 2013

Potatoes can be cruel.  They tempt you with their tremendous potential for creamy, roasty, buttery goodness, but far too  often they fall short of perfection.  There are so many places they can go astray – overcooked, undercooked, under seasoned, mushy, mealy – it’s heartbreak waiting to happen.  But because I love potatoes you, and want them you to be tasty happy, I’ve experimented and found an absolutely idiot-proof way to roast potatoes.

No really, this is how it should be done.  Always.  Without exception.  And, yes, I know roast potatoes sounds like the simplest thing ever (and really, they are), but I swear these come out better than any other way I’ve ever tried.  Trust me, just do it, I won’t lead you astray.

1) Gather your supplies.  You will need a small bag of potatoes, some butter (or olive oil if you prefer) and some salt (I use the herb salt I made earlier in the year).  Picking your potatoes is the only tricky part of this.  You want smallish ones (about 1-2 inches across the middle) that have the word ‘gold’ or ‘golden’ in the title.  They may say yukon gold, or honey gold, or butter gold or something similar.  All the grocery stores in my area have these in 12-18 ounce bags near the other potatoes (I get these or these, but there are lots of other kinds).  They’ve all got yellow flesh and thin skin.  It’s worth the trouble to find the right sort.  The rest of this is so easy it’s shameful, so don’t stray on this step.  This is the only place you can go wrong.

2) Set your oven to 400F.  Dump the potatoes in a microwave and oven safe dish (rinse them first if they’re dirty, but the brand I get are always super duper clean…use your good sense here).  Dab somewhere around a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of butter (in 3 or 4 chunks) or olive oil on top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle some salt on top.  If you’re using a coarse salt, you want just shy of a tablespoon.  If you’re using a finer salt, use less, as little as a teaspoon if you’re using table salt.  It should look rather like this.

_DSC90853) Stick them in your microwave.  On my microwave, I hit the ‘potato’ button 2 times.  If yours has a potato button, try that.  If not, aim for about 8 minutes and hang out and see what happens.  You want the potatoes to more or less completely cook.  In fact, the moment you hear the first potato pop, they’re done.  The skins will get shiny and a bit wrinkly.  Take them out (you may need a potholder) and give them a good shake.  Make sure the (now melted) butter or olive oil and salt is coating all the potatoes.  This is what you’re going for (this is after I shook them to coat).

_DSC90904) Now stick them in the oven.  I have to leave them there 35-45 minutes (it depends on the size of the potatoes), but I have an elderly and slightly anemic oven.  If yours is more robust, I suggest checking after 35 minutes (if you’re feeling ambitious, give them a shake at this point, just to keep everyone coated in the melted fat).  Be sure to leave them in until they develop some serious color.  If in doubt, go longer.  This pan looks just perfect, but I could have left them in 10 more minutes with no harm done.

_DSC9092They’re amazing, I promise.  Easiest thing ever.  The only hard part is not burning your mouth on them as you accidentally eat the whole pan while cooking whatever else you’re making that day.  The pan in these pics?  The Boy and I ate it all within minutes of these pictures.

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