When asked to bring a side dish to a friend's home, I like to make these sweet and salty potatoes. I first came up with these when we were living in Los Angeles, and some friends of ours invited us to sit in their box seats at the Hollywood Bowl. A wonderful venue for music under the stars, the Hollywood Bowl encourages you to arrive early and bring a picnic dinner. As Los Angeles is, according to a recent report, the worst city in the nation for traffic, I did not know how long my side dishes would have to sit in the car before dinner, so I decided that food safety would be just as important as food flavor. I decided to make something that can be eaten at any temperature, but that is still delicious.
1. Peel the shallots, and chop them into pieces roughly 1/2 inch square. Place the pieces into a large non-reactive bowl.
2. Wash the pototoes thoroughly, but do not peel. If you are using small potatoes, cut them into quarters, each in a half-moon shape. If you are using larger potatoes, cut them into quarters, then cut those half-moons in half--the aim is to end up with uniform sized potato pieces that are one-half to no more than 3/4 of an inch on any side. Place the potato pieces into the bowl with the shallots.
3. Pour the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil over the potatoes and shallots. Stir to mix.
4. Remove the rosemary leaves from the stems. Add the leaves to the bowl with the previous ingredients.
5. Add the salt and the pepper to the bowl and stir again to mix.
6. Pour the contents of the bowl into a heavy 9 inch by 13 inch roasting pan (I like to line mine with aluminum foil), or into any baking dish that will allow the potatoes to be in a single layer.
7.Bake at 450 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes. I like my potatoes pretty dark, so that the balsamic vinegar gets really crunchy on the outsides of the potatoes -if you don?t want them quite so dark, either take them out earlier at the 30 minute mark, or set the oven to 375 degrees F and roast for the full time.
Serve hot or at room temperature. The potatoes can be reheated in the oven (400 degrees F for 10 minutes) or in a wrapping of heavy duty aluminum foil.
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A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. It has not been tested for home use.
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