My dad likes precision. If I do not give a straight numeric answer to questions--how many miles to the hotel from Nevsky Prospekt, how many rubles for a taxi--he will protest with, “Well is it more than one, or fewer than a thousand?” Eventually I’ll reach a satisfactory number--fewer than two miles, forty dollars if you’re lucky--and I’m reminded that what is familiar to me needs concrete grounding in order to be understood.
I’ve been making this recipe for years (more than one, fewer than a thousand), and have never written it down. I use enough potatoes to fill the pan without overcrowding, as many tomatoes as will fit, and a few fistfuls of green beans. (I’ll confess to looking back at the pictures and counting tomatoes and green beans so I could capture this recipe.) It’s extremely flexible to what you have around you, and I bet it would be delicious if you substituted other herbs (or vegetables, but then you’d have to change the title…)
Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Tomatoes, and Green Beans
Small potatoes (about a pound and a half)
Cherry tomatoes (one carton, or approximately twenty)
Green beans (thirty-one?)
2 garlic cloves (or more!) (or fewer!)
Basil (optional, but when you use it, a fourth cup of chopped basil is usually enough)
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Set oven to 400 degrees.
While the oven is heating, slice cherry tomatoes in half. Crush and mince garlic (give them a good whack--unpeeled--with the flat your knife blade, take off the peel and mince them). Put tomatoes in a bowl with garlic and mix.
Slice potatoes thinly--approximately ¼ inch thick. Throw them into a bowl with a few glugs (enough to coat, or about three tablespoons) of olive oil and salt those guys. Scatter potatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet (sprayed with nonstick spray if you want; I didn’t and everything turned out okay) and put in oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until potatoes are starting to crisp. Make sure you mix the potatoes approximately every ten minutes so they get evenly cooked.
Cut the ends of the green beans and boil them until they are fork-tender. Drain and put aside (this works nicely if you start the beans and time them to finish around when the potatoes are almost finished.)
When the potatoes are crispy and brown (but not all the way done), take the roasting pan out of the oven and mix in the tomatoes and green beans. Put back in the oven until everything is warm (ten minutes or so). Salt and pepper to taste, and top with chopped basil.
You should scale the recipe down if you’re eating for one. The leftovers are never as good as the first day.