Once upon a time, the only potatoes you could find in the grocery store were baking potatoes. These potatoes were good. But remember the old saying “variety is the spice of life?” Yeah.
It seems like one of the few good things to come out of the 1980s was more diversity in food for day to day consumption. Seriously though, fashion in the 80s was pretty bad. Remember shoulder pads, neon clothing, and hair set high with enough hair spray to destroy the ozone layer? Yeah, that should not be brought back. But culinary options? That should be kept.
As the 90s came to into being, suddenly lettuce wasn’t just round orbs of iceberg, carrots weren’t just orange, bell peppers came in colors other than green, and potatoes weren’t limited to brown starch bombs (delicious though they may be). The diversity had always been there, but it wasn’t being marketed to the typical grocery store until then.
The ubiquitous baking potato is so common because it is so versatile. Baked, mashed, roasted, fried, and boiled are all great ways to enjoy them. However, the less starchy potatoes that are typically found in smaller sizes and in an array of colors, out-perform in terms of texture and taste in some applications. They are less likely to turn to mush when boiled, making them better for soups (like my clam chowder), and have a smoother texture when roasted. Their smaller size and thinner skins means less preparation work, too, as they can be roasted whole without needing to be peeled.
This dish combines these easy to prepare potatoes with carrots and garlic. Bathed in a rich layer of butter, olive oil, and herbs, they are roasted to tender perfection. The vegetables caramelize in the butter and oil which brings out a sweet taste and the herbs provide additional flavor. There will be a buttery sauce formed at the bottom of the pan that will be perfect for drizzling over and mashing your veggies into or dredging thick slices of bread with. Seriously good stuff!
Some quick notes before you begin:
The pictures show a large batch that I made for a bigger gathering. For perspective, the size of pan I used is a half-sheet baking pan that is roughly 18 x 13 inches and only an inch high. The recipe below is half the amounts used in the pictures.
Feel free to use any color of small potatoes that have thinner skins. Red and gold types are pretty common, but I occassionally find purple or pink fleshed ones, too. More colors means more flavor and nutrients!
The same applies to carrots, too. Again, orange will be the most common, but if you find other colors, use them.
There’s no need to peel these types of potatoes since the skins are thin and tender. Peeling the carrots is optional, but I do like the texture and taste better if the peel is removed.
Use a shallow pan for roasting these veggies, if possible. This allows for more dry heat rather than steam and will make it easier for the caramelization process to take place.
Select potatoes that are about the same size for uniform results. Those that are too large may still be hard in the center while small ones may get burnt.
I’m a huge fan of McCormick’s Italian Seasoning herb mix. However, if you don’t have that an equal blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and parsley will work great, too.
The butter used is regular butter with salt, however, you may wish to add more salt to taste.
Buttery Roasted Baby Potatoes with Carrots Recipe
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. mixed herb seasoning like McCormick’s Italian Seasoning, or an equal blend of dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, and parsley
- 2 pounds baby potatoes, any color, unpeeled, whole
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
- 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Put all the prepared vegetables into a large bowl. In a small saucepan or in a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter with the olive oil and herbs on low heat. If using the microwave, heat in 30 second increments and stir in-between to avoid having the butter foam over. Heat only enough for the butter to melt.
Pour the butter and oil mixture over the vegetables and stir till everthying is evenly coated. The mixture may solidify depending on the temperature of your vegetables, but that is okay. Spread the vegetables into a shallow tray so that they are in a single layer. You don’t want them spread too far apart, though, as this could lead to scorching on the bottom before the vegetables are completely cooked through. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.
Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and stir the vegetables around to redistribute the butter and oil. If they seem to be getting scorched but aren’t ready, lower your oven’s temperature to 375 F, or cover very loosely with a sheet of foil. Return them to the oven for another 20 minutes. Check on them at this point to see if they are ready. The carrots and potatoes should be tender enough to pierce easily with a fork. Continue to roast as needed until tender.
Once finished, remove the vegetables to a serving dish and pour off the liquid at the bottom into a sauce dish or bowl. This liquid can be drizzled over the vegetables once they are served and/or soaked up with bread. You for sure don’t want to let it go to waste! Enjoy!