What I love most about cooking is that it gives me the comfortable feeling that things are exactly as they should be. There is a reassuring satisfaction in the moment when a Bundt cake gracefully slips out of its pan, and in the hours that it takes a half bushel of tomatoes to cook down into a winter's worth of sauce. A certain amount of faith is required to believe that a dozen pretzel rolls, pale and misshapen from a scalding baking soda bath, will emerge from the oven transformed into taut, browned beauties. But they do, and all is right with the world.
There are too many days when I rush through life in a blur of hectic distraction. Cooking forces me to slow down. There are certain recipes where I can always find contentment: popovers that rise up and out of the pan, their golden domes undaunted by gravity; the gingery sweet potato soup that tastes of the competent sophistication my childhood self imagined adulthood would be; and these Mexican-spiced roasted potatoes.
They're simple to prepare--you just toss them with olive oil, salt, and some spices--but the thing is, they taste exactly like a potato should. They're crispy-skinned and smooth-fleshed, seasoned with warming spices that somehow heighten the earthy taste of the potatoes themselves. My favorite potatoes to use for this recipe are the new potatoes of early summer, but you can achieve perfectly satisfying results year-round with small red potatoes from the grocery store. I like to fill the potatoes out into a meal by serving them on corn tortillas, topped with salsa, green onions, and fresh cilantro.
Adapted from My Food Diary
- 2 pounds new potatoes or small red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, toss potatoes with oil. Sprinkle with salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. Toss again until evenly coated.
Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove potatoes from oven and stir to release from pan. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until tender.