There are trendy new types of potatoes on the shelves of your friendly neighborhood supermarket these days. The first ones that I noticed a few years ago were the new varieties of colored potatoes, as they began to come in from South America and other places: purple potatoes were startling to me, and then I began to see packages of mixed colors at places like Trader Joe's in Tucson, where I also saw fingerling potatoes for the first time.
Unfortunately for me, fingerling potatoes really do look like fingers, and I find them slightly disturbing, but I'm pretty sure that it's just me because they sell and are very popular with television chefs.
And there are also baby potatoes, which are usually very small even compared to the new potatoes and/or Yukon Gold potatoes that have been around the supermarkets for awhile now. Baby potatoes are usually the size of a ping-pong ball or smaller and are meant to be cooked without peeling.
You can halve them, though, and that is the basis for this side dish that utilizes specialty potatoes that will keep their shape even if they are quite small. You will also want to pick up a few shallots for the dish, which is fine with me because I like them a lot.
Long ago I read that one of the qualities of shallots is that, unlike onions, they won't make your eyes tear up. Unfortunately I found that it is not true (by the empirical method--they make my eyes water just like onions). Anyway, prepare to cut up some shallots and make this lovely side dish when you roast a chicken.
BABY POTATOES WITH SHALLOTS
2 pounds assorted small organic potatoes (fingerlings, baby potatoes, etc.)
1 cup sliced organic shallots
2 Tablespoons organic olive oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons coarse-grain organic Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the potatoes and shallots in a large mixing bowl. You can halve the potatoes or not, as you choose.
Whisk all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and toss with the potato mixture until all the potatoes are coated.
Transfer the potato mixture to the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes with a spatula. When the potatoes are fork-tender and the shallots have caramelized, remove from the oven and serve hot with additional thyme sprigs for garnish.
I mention this as a good side dish for a roast chicken because frequently you don't make gravy with the drippings, and this dish doesn't need another sauce other than the flavor you will get with the mustard and thyme.
The only other thing that I would serve with this dinner would be a green salad and dessert; bread seems a bit redundant with the potatoes.