The Brenner Family's Roasted Potatoes
I grew up eating these potatoes – and to this day, they're my favorite roasted potatoes in the world. I don't know whose method it is, but I think it was probably my dad's. Or maybe it was my mom's. In any case, all three of us Brenner kids – my brothers David, John and I – all make them. I've never met anyone who didn't love them, and they're super easy to do. The recipe is extremely forgiving; it's really more a method than a recipe. Throw in more potatoes, or use rosemary instead of thyme – or use both. Add a few whole garlic cloves, if you like (my mom thought they didn't belong in there, so I didn't grow up with them). Or you can use fingerlings, which is even easier: Just leave the peel on, wash them well and dry them. If you can only find large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut them in half horizontally before cutting them into quarters. My favorite salt to use with these is coarse grey sea salt from France, but I often use Maldon salt (my favorite flaky sea salt from England). Fleur de sel is great too, but it's very expensive. Regular Kosher salt is fine, too. If you use a pretty roasting dish, you can serve it directly from it at the table.
Serves 4 to 6.
1 medium or large yellow onions
2 pounds medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut vertically into quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 or 7 branches fresh thyme, broken into smallish pieces
About 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the onion in half through the root end, trim off the end, and cut each half into quarters vertically, so the onion falls into petals. Place them in a baking dish with the potatoes, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Distribute the thyme over all, sprinkle with the sea salt and plenty of black pepper and toss gently to combine.
2. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, using a wooden spoon to stir them gently halfway through so they don't stick, and maybe once more. Be careful not to puncture them, as you want their edges to be sort of crisp. They're done when they're golden brown and tender when poked with a fork and the onion petals' tips are a bit charred. Transfer to a serving dish, or serve straight from the baking dish.