Friday, May 20, 2022


You don't need many ingredients to make a pan of delicious roast potatoes, but you do need love and care. Love for what you do, and care for the potatoes while they roast. Growing up, I've watched them being prepared with just vegetable oil and a bit of salt, and they would taste amazingly, just like that. The secret ingredient is always the care you put into the preparation.
These little gems are one of my favourite things about spring. New potatoes, fresh strawberries, linden trees, and farmers' markets full of bright flowers. It truly makes one feel alive and grateful to be.
Although I do love all potato dishes, roasting them is the absolute best way to have them, in my humble opinion. The crispy surface combined with the centre that melts on each bite is pure heaven on a plate.
To prepare them, washing them carefully and thoroughly is plenty, however, if you have to, peel them. Save the washed and cleaned skins, and fry them, generously seasoning them with salt and a few red pepper flakes, for a simple snack.
When it comes to the topic of garlic, I am very vocal about how much I love and use it in my recipes. Roasting the garlic makes it almost sweet, so do not worry about it overpowering the final flavour of the potatoes. I use all of the cloves, especially if they are on the smaller side, however, if you prefer your potatoes less garlicky, feel free to use only a few cloves, and reserve the rest for another dish, such as garlic bread or anything you fancy.

1 small head of garlic (10 small cloves)
2.5 kilograms new potatoes, washed (and peeled, if necessary)
150 millilitres extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
small pinch of dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove most of the outer papery layer of the garlic, leaving the cloves intact. Cut off the top, and place the head of garlic, cut side up, in a piece of aluminium foil large enough to wrap it entirely. Drizzle it with a tablespoon of good olive oil, wrap it snugly, and let it roast for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size.
While the garlic is roasting, prepare the potatoes by carefully washing them, and if there is a need, peel them, as well. Take a very large pot, add in the potatoes, and pour in enough water to cover them. Place the pot over high heat, and let it come to a rolling boil. As they are so tender, they do not need to be cooked for too long. Once the water is boiling, cook until they are just tender, or until you are able to insert a fork or a knife into them, about 10 minutes or so.
After about 20 minutes, check the garlic. If it can be pierced easily with a skewer, it is done; if not, let it roast for another 10 minutes, and repeat the check. Once done, remove it from the oven, let it cool down slightly, and then carefully open the foil, and let it cool down further.
When the potatoes are cooked and ready, very carefully drain off the water, and let them sit in the pot, so any remaining moisture can evaporate. Remove the garlic from the foil, mash it into a paste, and mix it with the oil and the spices. Once the potatoes are ready, tip the pot into a large baking pan and coat them generously with the olive oil.
Shake the baking pan so they distribute somewhat evenly, and roast them in a hot oven, at 200°C, for about 20 minutes or so. Take them out of the oven, and carefully turn them over as best as possible, and return for another 20-30 minutes, depending on your preference. By then, they should be crispy, with a bit of oil around them.
Serve them immediately, either by transferring them to a serving bowl, or from the pan itself. Yields 8 generous servings.