It doesn’t take too long for us to munch our way through a kilogram or more of potatoes as a family. Somehow this pantry staple manages to sneak into our meals, bulking up vegetable curries, binding cutlets and paratha fillings, or handily slipped into toasted sandwiches. In many Indian households, it is de rigueur for large chunks of potatoes to be added to the everyday subzi, be it aloo-methi, aloo-palak, aloo-paneer or the pretty much inescapable, aloo-gobhi. We’ve tried consciously to shift out of this cooking paradigm, and occasionally we do like to cook potatoes on their own, to savour and celebrate their many irresistible qualities.
These Basil Roasted Baby Potatoes were made for a party recently, and they disappeared so quickly that another batch had to be tossed and slipped into the oven. Roasting the potatoes in their skins is a great way to add texture and crispiness, and these tiny taters are much too hard to peel anyway. Any herbs can be used in place of the basil, fresh thyme and rosemary are particularly good, but basil is what was in the fridge that day, so that’s what went in. The dried and fresh herbs provide double the flavour hit, you get the deeper, savoury flavour of the dried basil and the anise tones of the green leaves too.
A shower of salty Parmesan or Emmental cheese right when you bring the tray out of the oven would not be out of place. Or you could stir in a dollop of fresh pesto to add even more flavor. We served these with Pasta Primavera, mixed greens and homemade focaccia, but if you stick in a few toothpicks and put them on the coffee table as an appetizer, you’d surely be making a lot of folks very happy.
Basil Roasted Baby Potatoes
- 1 kg baby potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- Salt to taste
- A handful of fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF.
- Soak the potatoes in warm water for a few minutes and then scrub well to remove any dirt. Dry them in a clean kitchen towel. Cut any of the larger potatoes into halves. Set aside.
- Line a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pour the oil in a large mixing bowl and add the red chilli, salt ad dried basil.
- Tip in the potatoes and toss well.
- Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer, cut side down.
- Roast for about 25-30 minutes, tossing once, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Tear up and toss in the fresh basil, and serve hot.