Mini roast potatoes
You could, I suppose, go through the faff of parboiling your spuds before turning them into roast potatoes in the oven. You could try the usual roast potato tricks of coating them in flour or roughing them up with a knife to try and get that crispy exterior. And if, like me, you have a notoriously unreliable oven, you could try to roast your potatoes whole or cut in half and despair as they refuse to cook evenly. You may have even wept tears of sheer frustration if your potatoes either take forever to cook properly or you just can’t seem to achieve the crisp-on-the-outside-fluffy-in-the-middle roasties, as seen on television.
I remember with significant horror attempting to roast potatoes when I lived in Abu Dhabi – in a fit of desperation, I bought Saudi potatoes from one of the friendly little grocers in my neighbourhood. (Basically, I couldn’t be arsed to drive to the supermarket and give up my good on-street parking space – anyone who has lived in a building in Abu Dhabi without a car park can relate to this dilemma, but I digress…). I parboiled the potatoes for more than half an hour and they did not get any softer. I swear these cannonball-like spuds were made of lead. I threw them in the oven in a fit of annoyance and used enough electricity to power the entire Middle East in this failed roast potato attempt. That will teach me to buy potatoes grown in the soil of a truly terrible regime, I guess.
To avoid this level of spud-related distress, I hereby present my mini roast potatoes. You will have delicious little cubes of potato goodness in less than an hour, making them a great alternative for Christmas dinner and an easy dinner party side dish.
Mini roast potatoes
Allow approximately one potato per person, peeled and cut into cubes about the size of a board game dice (this recipe also works with diced sweet potato or a mixture of both for a really colourful, festive effect)
A good slosh of olive oil
Coriander or mustard seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Arrange the potato cubes in a single layer in a shallow ovenproof dish
- I never measure the olive oil for this one – I guess it’s around three tablespoons when I make it for my husband and I – and slosh a nice puddle in the middle of the dish. Brush the olive oil over the potato cubes until they are evenly coated.
- Now comes the freestyling part – I didn’t specify quantities for the salt, chipotle flakes, paprika or seeds because this is all a matter of taste. Sprinkle the potatoes with these seasonings to taste. And, as ever, do not feel bound by these choices – there are plenty of great alternatives you can try. Rosemary, basil, mint, black pepper, onion salt, garlic granules, cumin, turmeric, tarragon, ras el hanout… The beauty of potatoes is their blandness. They can take on so many different flavours.
- Pop in the oven for 45 minutes. Check in on it a couple of times during the roasting process and give them a bit of a basting.
- Serve immediately.