When it comes to side dishes, we're no stranger to potatoes around here. Baked potatoes, potatoes au gratin, homemade French fries, mashed potatoes–you name it, and I can guarantee I've served it in the past week or two. But one of my family's favorite ways to satisfy a carb craving is the simplest: roasting them.
In all the years that I've been popping spuds into the oven, I've never actually followed a recipe. I'll chop them up, drizzle them in olive oil, and head to the spice cabinet to randomly pick a mix to sprinkle on before tossing. From Tony Chachere's to Old Bay to garlic powder, the selection never really has a rhyme or reason, let alone measurements. And cooking time? It's pretty different every time I punch it in.
Then I stumbled on Ina Garten's Garlic Roasted Potatoes, and I figured if she had an exact formula for roasting potatoes, surely it would step up my game. Of course, the Barefoot Contessa delivered.
At first glance, this recipe seems quite ordinary; a short ingredient list full of staples you probably already have on hand lead into the expected process of cutting and roasting. But its genius lies in the simplicity. Ina doesn't ask you to over season, letting the minced garlic, salt, and pepper impress on their own. She does, however, request you use "good" olive oil, for which I commend her. Olive oils have different flavor profiles. Though it all comes down to personal preference, when it's a main component in a recipe this humble, what you douse can make all the difference.
The real key to nailing this side is in the way you roast. To get the soft, tender goodness of a baked tater packed in a crispy, crackly shell, she asks you to turn the potatoes twice. She doesn't specify when or how, but I find that I get crisper roasted potatoes when I start them cut-side down arranged completely flat on the baking sheet. If you've cut your spuds so that they have more than one open side, be sure that angle hits the hot pan next. Once you've finished rotating, patience is essential. It's a struggle, but I wait the full hour to sear them past the point of mere tenderness and all the way to golden brown.
For another straightforward, yet solid potato side, I tried our Crispy Roasted Potatoes next. It's similar in style, but it adds the unexpected factor of two types of potatoes: sweet and russet. The biggest similarity between the two? They're both worth sliding into your dinner menu on repeat.