You know Prince Charming? The tall, dark, handsome guy who comes riding up on a white horse to whisk you away to a fantasy life at some medieval castle? Well, my tall, dark, handsome guy doesn’t have a horse or a castle; he’s French and he loves to cook. (Now that’s a prince!) He cooks intuitively, without recipes, so when he makes something that turns out especially good, I beg him to make it again, so I can capture the recipe. Recently he made the most wonderful batch of tiny new potatoes, roasted with onions, tomatoes, garlic, olives, and olive oil, and seasoned with herbes de Provence. We’ve remade it a couple of times since just because it’s so so good. The little potatoes are like savory potato candies, with caramelized bits of onions and tomatoes.
Yes, I know it’s hot and no one wants to turn on the oven. But if you can bear to use the oven where you are, I recommend trying this. The potatoes themselves should be eaten at room temperature, not hot. So it’s a great make-ahead recipe, and good for pot lucks and picnics too.
Provencal New Potatoes Recipe
The garlic cloves are cooked with their peels still on (but crushed) to help keep the garlic from burning or drying out. The peels also help keep the mushy roasted garlic distinct, so that if an individual doesn't want to eat garlic, it can be avoided. You can either remove the skins before serving, or let the individual remove them once served.
- 2 lb small new potatoes (look for the smallest you can find, the potatoes should be no bigger than 1 1/2 inches, if they are bigger, cut them into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 medium onion, sliced in the direction of root to top
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed with peel on (do not remove peel)
- 2-3 small to medium vine-ripened tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 10 pitted olives, green and black (Kalamata and Nicoise)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp herbes de Provence
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives for garnish
1 Preheat oven to 400°F
2 Put all ingredients (except chives) into a bowl, toss with your (clean) hands to coat completely with oil and seasonings.
3 Spread out in an even layer in a roasting pan.
4 Put the potatoes in the oven, cook for fifteen minutes at 400°F. Then reduce the heat to 375° and cook for 30 to 40 minutes more, until the onions and tomatoes are somewhat caramelized and the potatoes are cooked through. Halfway through cooking, stir the potatoes so that they remain well coated with oil and do not get dried out, and the bottom of the pan stays coated with oil.
5 Remove from oven and let sit until cooled to room temperature.
Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives to serve. Excellent served with steak and a side of greens. (You can toss fresh spinach or chard with the oil remaining in the potato roasting pan and put back into the oven for just a few minutes until just wilted.)
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.