Growing up, one of my family’s favorite accompaniments to meat dishes was steamed red potatoes and green beans. For some reason, the flavors go together quite well, especially when paired with a meat dish. I brought this idea along with me when I moved out, but as I learned more about cooking I couldn’t help but modify it.
My experimentation all started with a recipe I found for a Salade Niçoise. It called for roasted potatoes, green beans (good so far) but then added in all this other stuff like chopped kalamatas, onions, anchovies, capers, and lemon and was served along unadorned flavorless grilled tuna steaks. Something had gone terribly wrong. I like a lot of those things, but the combination was simply too much. This recipe was trying way too hard. Instead of being warm, inviting, savory, simple, and satisfying, it was bitter, salty, and, well, gross.
Nevertheless, it did introduce me to roasting, and I knew that I was on to something good here. Knowing that the basic premise of red potatoes and green beans was pure and solid, I made it several more times over the coming months, but omitted the offending ingredients and added an aromatic or two.
Of course, the potatoes are heavenly on their own without the green beans. Last Christmas, my mother-in-law was roasting those red potatoes I love so well, and was of course adding in the requisite rosemary. This caused her father to protest loudly “Don’t add so much rosemary! You’ll ruin the flavor!” I couldn’t help but laugh at this well-meaning but misguided advice, given that the potatoes have practically no flavor on their own. Potatoes and rosemary go together like tomatoes and basil: a match made in heaven. What would be the point of roasting them without it?
Roasted Rosemary Red Potatoes
A Jitterbean original