Few things are as rewarding – and as easy – as roasting potatoes. Insert fresh herbs, minced garlic, and cracked black pepper into the equation, and you’re set up for herb roasted potatoes. It’s a heavenly, home-cooked side dish. When it comes to potatoes, I usually make my spicy home fries laced with chili powder and similar spices. But with homegrown herbs so readily available on my balcony, it was time for a different flavor profile. Herbs are the star of the show here, by way of baby potatoes.
The technique for herb roasted potatoes is the same as roasting any other spuds. Before roasting in olive oil, simply drop them in salted boiling water for a few minutes. This gives the exteriors a head start on the cooking process. Then while roasting, by the time the interiors are cooked to velvety creaminess, the exteriors are crispy with slightly caramelized bits of seasonings.
It goes without saying that if herbs are the featured ingredient, they need to be fresh. When shopping, just buy whatever herbs look the best. I happened to have grown thyme, sage and chives, so that’s what I’m working with heavily these days. It’s difficult to find an herb combination that does not work well. The technique is the same regardless. Just promise me this … do not use dried herbs for herb roasted potatoes. Not even dried parsley!
If you have outdoor space available, now is the time to plan ahead for next growing season because it will be here before you know it. Start planting herb seedlings in April, then you can have a replenishing supply of fresh herbs all summer through to most of next fall. All you need is some small 9-inch containers.
The only real precaution here lies in the use of fresh thyme. The thick woody stems of thyme do not cook down and run the risk of getting caught in your throat. They can actually be quite hazardous. Therefore, take the time to remove the individual thyme leaves (see below). Simply cut off each stem, hold the tip and gently slide the stem between your fingers in the opposite direction. Then pinch off the tips. Do this ahead of time because it’s a pain to do quickly while you’re deep into cooking. You don’t want to rush this process.
The amounts of herbs in recipes is often difficult to quantify. Plus, it’s also a matter of personal taste or even your mood at the moment. So just take what I’m doing with a grain of salt … pun intended.
- 40–45 baby potatoes
- 7–10 sage leaves, chopped fine
- ¼ cup finely chopped chives
- 3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 heaping teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, line a shallow 13’ x 9” sheet pan with foil. Place the pan in the oven so it can heat up. In a large pot, bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil, seasoned with a few generous pinches of salt.
- Be sure your herbs are prepared according to the ingredients list.
- Cut each potato on in half, crosswise. Set aside. Combine all of your chopped herbs in a small bowl and mix so they’re all even distributed.
- Once the pot of water is boiling, slowly place the halved potatoes into the water. Once again, bring to a boil for another 3 to 4 minutes. Then, transfer to a colander to drain the water.
- Return the potatoes to the large pot. Stir in olive oil so all potatoes are evenly coated. Add the herbs, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Stir potatoes until the seasoning is evenly distributed.
- Remove the hot sheet pan from the oven (using oven mits). Transfer seasoned potatoes to your sheet pan evenly distributed in one layer with none overlapping. They will sizzle when added, and that’s what you want.
- Roast the potatoes at 400 degrees. After about 15 minutes give them a gentle stir. Roast them for another 15 minutes, or until they’re fork tender. They should be technically done by now, but for extra crisping, switch the heat to the broiler. Place your herb roasted potatoes within 6 inches of the heating element and broil until desired doneness.