The Easiest Potatoes You’ll Ever Make [herbed new potatoes]

I am not kidding.

Did you know you could cook potatoes without any water at all?  I didn’t until I watched my girl do it.  That’s right, the Barefoot Contessa can make potatoes using only butter, salt and pepper.

This recipe revolutionized dinner here in the glass of milk kitchen because, you see, well…I’m pretty weak.  We have some heavy-duty cookware, and when it’s filled to the brim with boiling liquids I get kinda shaky.  Rather than go to the gym to work on my biceps, I’d much prefer to bypass the aspect of cooking that requires physical strength.

Enter today’s simple dish.  Herbed new potatoes.  No strength necessary.

This is not a glamorous potato, but boy is it good.  It doesn’t have the same panache as mashed potatoes because it lacks heavy cream.  It doesn’t pack the punch and crunch of a roasted potato, nor will this provide you the perfect balance of textures you’d expect from a French fry.  This is a potato that stands (and steams) on its own, and needs no support from additional ingredients or cooking methods.  It will be just fine by itself, thankyouverymuch.

You will need:

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 ½ lbs small potatoes (I like new potatoes for this, the little red guys)
  • 1 ½ t kosher salt
  • ½ t freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T chopped fresh herbs.  I’ve used basil, chives, thyme, parsely, and various combinations of the 4

Melt the butter in the bottom of a Dutch oven, or large, heavy-bottomed pot.  Add the potatoes (Ina adds hers whole, but when I’m short on time, I cut them into halves or quarters), salt and pepper, and toss well.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.  Shake the pot occasionally, lid still on, so the potatoes do not stick to the bottom.  Test the potatoes; they are done when they are just tender when you pierce the skin with a knife.  Turn off the heat and let the potatoes sit for another 5 minutes to finish cooking.  Toss with the herbs, and impress your friends.

That’s it.  No muss, no fuss.  And most importantly, no waiting for water to boil, and no draining a heavy pot.  The potatoes are like a gift you can give yourself.  Enjoy them soon.

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