In a heavy-bottomed, wide saute pan over high heat, add the potatoes and just barely cover with cold water. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to cook, keeping a watchful eye, so the water evaporates completely and the potatoes are left covered in salt, about 30 minutes. Once the water has evaporated, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, lightly tossing; the oil left in the pan will help prevent the potatoes from sticking. Remove the potatoes from the pan, discard the herbs and garlic and serve.
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