Making the Perfect Oven-Roasted Potatoes

When it comes to making the perfect oven-roasted potatoes, the type of potatoes you use is really a personal decision. While some like to use large russet potatoes, others like small German butterball potatoes. However, new potatoes are great because they are small and therefore don't need to be boiled or cubed before roasting. You can choose to slice small potatoes in half or quarters if you wish.

If you do choose to use larger potatoes, such as russets or Yukon golds, chop them into one-inch cubes. The uniformity of the cubes will ensure that the potatoes cook evenly and crisp nicely: The smaller cubes you make, the quicker the potatoes will cook.

Roasting Temperature
When setting oven temperature, the higher the temperature, the better the outcome. Somewhere around 450 to 500 degrees is the best temperature for roasting potatoes. The outcome will be very crispy and delicious. Do not worry about burning the potatoes because they can withstand a lot of heat. Keep the roasting pan in the middle of the oven for the best results.

Skins or No Skins?
Russet potatoes should generally be roasted without their skins, as the skins aren't particularly tasty. New potatoes, Peruvian potatoes and purple potatoes all have tasty skins and so should be roasted with their skins on. Generally, smaller potatoes should be roasted with their skins, and the skins of large potatoes should be removed.

Par-Boiling
Par-boiling is really the secret to producing a fluffy-on-the-inside and crispy-on-the-outside roasted potato. Simply toss the potatoes into boiling water, and boil for several minutes (depending on the size of the potato). About 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient. Par-boiling breaks down the outside of the potato slightly so that it crisps and crusts up nicely in the oven. This also reduces the cooking time on the potatoes because they are slightly done before entering the oven to roast.

Drying
To achieve a more crispy texture after roasting, potatoes should be dried completely before entering the oven. You can let the potatoes sit on a paper towel or hand towel for several minutes, allowing all water to drain off, and blot them slightly.

Onions
Potatoes are amazing when roasted with chopped onions. Sweet onions are the best for roasting with potatoes. Shallots are even better because of their amazing taste.

Flavoring
An oven-roasted potatoes recipe can include a variety of different herbs and spices depending on personal preference. If you want to achieve an Italian-inspired taste, try sprinkling some parsley, thyme and rosemary on them. If you prefer a more spicy or Cajun-inspired taste, add paprika and some cayenne pepper. As always, the potatoes should be seasoned with salt (sea salt is preferable) and pepper.

Garlic
Garlic is a great addition to oven-roasted potatoes and can be used in a variety of different ways. Garlic can be mashed in a garlic press and tossed with the potatoes, or it can be minced and thrown in. Whole garlic cloves can be roasted with the potatoes, in which case the flavor will seep slowly into the potatoes without being directly added.

Recipe for Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 ½ pound organic red new potatoes, halved, with skins
2 shallots, chopped
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place a shallow baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in the oven, allowing it to preheat as well.

Wash and scrub the new potatoes. Be sure to remove all dirt and debris from the potatoes, cutting off any green spots or sprouts. Place the potatoes in boiling water, and par-boil for about five minutes. Cut the potatoes in half, the larger ones in quarters if necessary. Try to keep all potatoes roughly the same size. Using a dishcloth or paper towel, blot the potatoes until they are completely dry. Place the potatoes and chopped shallots in a large bowl. Pour the olive oil in the bowl, and toss to coat. Add the herbs and pepper, and mix. Wait to add salt until later.

Remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven, and distribute the potatoes evenly on top of the foil, taking care not to burn yourself.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and roast the potatoes for approximately 40 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are crispy and cooked. Using a spatula, turn the potatoes every 10 to 15 minutes. After around 35 minutes, remove the baking sheet, and sprinkle sea salt over the potatoes. Roast about 5 to 10 more minutes. The skins should be slightly shriveled and crisp.

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