You know the movie version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley? There's a scene after Mr. Collins first arrives and the family is eating dinner, and he randomly says something like, "What excellent boiled potatoes!" The camera cuts across this beautiful tablescape to a giant bowl of peeled, boiled potatoes flecked with parsley and swimming in butter. The potatoes really do look delicious, and yet, just from the way he is complimenting them you also get the sense that they are probably the most boring dish on that table. I always kind of want to try making parsley potatoes after watching the movie, but just the fact that Mr. Collins finds them remarkable makes me think I'd be disappointed.
I was reminded of that scene after making these potatoes, mostly because for some reason it's one of those cinematic food scenes that is indelibly imprinted in my brain, but maybe also because these roasted beauties certainly owe a debt to parsley potatoes. Except instead of sprinkling the herbs over the potatoes as a dainty garnish, I rained down a confetti of flavor. I doubled (tripled? quadrupled?) down on the parsley and punched up the mix with the addition of cilantro, garlic, and chili flakes. It's like chimichurri deconstructed.
As for the the potato part? Crispy perfection. A couple years ago, when I was making roasted potatoes as a brunch side dish and simultaneously attempting a fussy scrambled egg recipe, I learned just how easy and forgiving these potatoes can be. That day I figured out that you can basically leave them in the oven until everything else is done, because the longer they cook the more like french fries they become, with crispy outsides and soft insides. And, c'mon, french fries with breakfast is completely allowed! These potatoes are also a blank canvas for almost anything you want. You can toss them in whole grain or dijon mustard before roasting. You can roast them plain and finish with a sprinkle of sumac or za'atar, or even curry powder. You can go with classic salt and pepper and serve with ketchup. The possibilities are endless, really.
Roasted Chimichurri "Fries"
2-3 lb fingerling potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch parsley, chopped finely
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
dried chili flakes
red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes with the olive oil and season generously with salt. Lay potatoes on two sheet pans in a single layer so potatoes don't crowd each other, at least 30 minutes, but they are even crispier after 45 minutes. Every once in a while, stir the potatoes a bit to help them crisp evenly. Some might stick a bit, but that's ok.
- While potatoes are roasting, combine the parsley, cilantro, shallot, garlic, and chili flakes in a bowl and set aside.
- When potatoes are done roasting, remove from the oven and drizzle lightly with the vinegar or lime juice. Scatter the herb mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat. The heat from the pan will wilt the herbs a bit and help them stick to the potatoes. Serve immediately.
- These potatoes are a great way to use up leftover herbs if you, like me, usually have a bag of parsley or cilantro in your fridge getting more wilted by the day (because I know nothing about proper produce storage). Fresh oregano would be a great addition too.