I have three massive bunches of basil sitting in glasses of water on my counter. Well: two massive bunches now, as I used most of one bunch in these potatoes. Which were also sitting on my counter, picked up at last weekend’s farmer’s market, quickly growing sprouts despite the black tea towel protecting them from light. Ah, summer. The basil overflows, the mint grows like a weed; even the potatoes are stretching towards the sunshine. And the eating is as easy as tossing together whatever is hanging out on your counter, just begging to be lunch.
After more than a week of way-too-hot and way-too-humid, living in my dark cave of a living room with three fans blasting 24/7, it was such a relief to be able to roast something. And the skins on these mixed new potatoes were so gorgeous, I knew I needed to do my best by them. So, I kept it simple: scrubbed potatoes, coarsely chopped; salt, pepper, olive oil. And a little curry powder to tie together the massive handfuls of fresh herbs I knew I’d be tossing in at the end.
I never quite understand what it is with Americans and fresh herbs: other cuisines use great, heaping handfuls of fresh basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro; especially in high summer when they are overflowing garden buckets and farmer’s markets alike. But our recipes always seem to call for one or two tablespoons: what’s up with that? I hardly see the point. Soft green herbs like basil are flavorful and bright, but not so strongly flavored that they can’t be used with a generous hand, and they really perk up a simple dish of roasted potatoes, diced tomatoes or pasta. And? Kale isn’t the only nutritious leafy green, people. Show fresh herbs some love. Great, heaping handfuls of love. I promise they’ll love you back.
- 3 lbs new potatoes, scrubbed, halved or quartered as necessary
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 heaping tsp flaky sea salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp sweet curry powder
- 1 small bunch fresh mint
- 1 medium bunch fresh basil
- juice of 1 lime
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (400 degrees F convection).
- In a large roasting pan or baker, toss potatoes with olive oil; enough to liberally coat each potato. Sprinkle over salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss well until potatoes are uniformly coated. Roast in the preheated oven until crisp on the outside and just tender inside, about 35 – 45 minutes.
- Pick off fresh mint leaves, discarding any browning leaves, and coarsely chop. Hold basil bunch upside down (stems up), roll leaves into cigar shape, then thinly slice leaves from the top of the bunch down towards the stems. Add chopped basil, mint and lime juice, toss, and taste. Adjust seasonings; add a splash or two of olive oil if potatoes seem dry. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 6 – 8.
- If it’s too hot for roasting, you could boil the potatoes, but in that case, pan-fry the curry powder in the olive oil for a few minutes, then toss with the potatoes once cooked & drained. I generally peel boiled potatoes (unless I am mashing) as the texture of the skins is less appealing.
- For a 100% local version, you could substitute clarified butter for the olive oil, use homemade/homegrown curry powder, and use wine vinegar or sumac for acid.
- For a creamy version, stir in a dollop of yogurt, crème fraîche or full-fat coconut milk.
Refrigerated up to 5 days. Can easily be made ahead and re-crisped in a warm oven or warmed on the grill.