A Month of Side Dishes: Perfect Roasted Potatoes

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Month of Side DishesDecember is BlogHer's Month of Side Dishes, and we want you to share your favorite side! Click here to see how to play along. And check out all the sides we're craving in the Month of Side Dishes series.

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Once upon a time, I dated a boy who worked in a high-end restaurant, and he taught me dozens of small tricks that the kitchen staff used every day to make their food taste better than anything you could make at home, hence ensuring that you'd come back to the restaurant and shell out one hundred dollars on a dinner.

I got to eat there for free, though because they had no vegetarian main dishes, I was often given a plate of sides as my meal. And one of my favorite things was the roasted, French fry-like potatoes.

They were so pretty and golden, but they weren't greasy or heavy. I didn't feel like I was consuming a cup of oil as I often did when I ate French fries, nor did they taste like normal roasted potatoes. They obviously had a few herbs scattered over them, but there was something else too.

The restaurant never shared what they did to get that gorgeous crust, but reverse engineering experiments in my own kitchen in addition to an admittance of one of those kitchen tricks by my boyfriend-at-the-time, got me pretty damn close.

That kitchen trick turned out to be a simple ziplock bag. After the restaurant cut the potatoes, they placed them inside a ziplock bag and drizzled in the olive oil. And then they shook the potatoes and drained them of the excess oil (most of which was clinging to the bag) before they placed them on the oiled baking sheet. I was skeptical at first because I couldn't see (1) how it was different from just drizzling the oil straight onto the potatoes as they rested on the baking sheet or (2) how it was different from tossing the potatoes and oil together in a bowl. But somehow it does make the difference between greasy and golden.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes
4 or 5 white potatoes or Yukon gold (do not use russet)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed rosemary
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cube the potatoes and place them in a ziplock bag. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes going easy on the oil because the shaking will coat the potatoes and you can always add more. Seal the bag and shake.

Empty out the contents of the bag onto a well-greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic powder (this will give it that nice golden crust and add flavor -- use the powder, not fresh garlic), rosemary, and salt over the potatoes and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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