Potatoes are so versatile, and one of my favorite ways to serve them is roasted. I love the crispy outside and tender inside. Using a method that is based on science, the outside of the potatoes chunks are turned into a bit of a mash using the alkaline in the baking soda when you’re parboiling. What this means is you have a delicious combination of crunchy outside and creamy inside. Plus, the infused oil makes the perfect coating to give flavor and add to the crispiness. This dish may sound complex, but it is so simple to make, and once you try this method, you will wonder why you settled for anything else. Science!

Belle’s Crispy Roasted Potatoes

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 pounds potatoes, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup rosemary leaves, finely chopped

3 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the salt, baking soda, and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce and simmer until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork— about 10 minutes. While the potatoes are boiling, place the oil, rosemary and garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until garlic just begins to brown — about three minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the herbs and put the oil in a large bowl. Drain the potatoes and let them sit in the pot for about a minute, then place them in the bowl with the oil and toss them vigorously so that you get a little bit of a paste coating on the potato chunks. Spread the potatoes out evenly on a large rimmed baking pan. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. Using a metal spatula to release any stuck chunks, turn the potatoes. Roast another 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and add the herb mixture and the chopped parsley. Toss and serve.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.