There is something very comforting about potatoes. So simple, so homey. But you can easily dress them up too, and that is what this recipe does: moves them from comfort potatoes to “cool looking special occasion potatoes”. They are tiny (about the size of a large marble, or a quarter). If you can’t find them at a farmer’s market, they also sell them in 1 pound nets at Trader Joes. Add shallot, thyme, lemon and salt/pepper to some butter, and voila. Yummy. And comforting.
1 pound mini-potatoes (Trader Joes sells bags of the multi-color ones)
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
for the shallot-herb butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper, coarsely ground or cracked in a pestle
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 large sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped (plus 1 additional sprig for garnishing)
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely minced
juice of half a lemon
Preheat oven to 450F. As the oven is warming up, place a small cast iron skillet (I used a 6 inch one) in the oven to heat as well.
Rinse and dry the potatoes thoroughly. Using a metal or wooden skewer, or a sharp pointy knife, poke each mini-potato a few times. Toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, pepper, and salt.
Once the oven is hot, carefully remove the cast iron skillet. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. It will sizzle. Place the potatoes evenly in the skillet (they can be more than one layer). Roast at 450F for 15 minutes. Carefully flip the potatoes (or use a spoon to rotate them) and roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are caramelized, crispy, and fork-tender.
In the last 10 minutes of roasting, preparing your shallot herb butter. In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted fully and is bubbling slightly, add the shallot and sauté, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the pepper, lemon zest, thyme, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low, and continue to reduce the sauce for an additional minute or so. Season sauce to taste with sea salt and additional pepper, if necessary.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, place on a rack. Add the warm shallot herb butter (scrape the skillet with a spatula to remove any bits), and toss the potatoes gently with a spoon or tongs until they are evenly coated in the sauce. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately.