Balsamic Roasted Potatoes
The potatoes and onions absorb all the vinegar and become sticky and irresistible. I've added salty pancetta, as it gives the dish a richer flavor, but it’s not essential if you don’t eat pork.
Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).
To a large saucepan, add the potatoes. Cover with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Place over a high heat, bring to a boil, then add the garlic cloves and boil for 2 minutes. Drain the potatoes and the garlic in a colander, and leave to cool to room temperature. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter, onions, and pancetta. Cook until the onions have softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and thyme, increase the heat and cook until syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and dump the mixture into a large bowl.
Add the blanched potatoes and garlic to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Coat the base of a roasting pan with the oil. Tip in the potato mixture and roast for 15 minutes. Give the pan a shake so that the balsamic and butter coats the potatoes and onions. Continue roasting, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and everything is beginning to caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and, using a spoon, toss the potatoes around the pan to soak up all the juices. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve immediately.
How can I prevent my potatoes from sprouting?
There's nothing worse than potatoes that have sprouted so much they look like they could walk away. The key to preventing your potatoes from sprouting is to keep them dry, cool, and in the dark. Any kind of moisture will trigger sprouting as will warm temps and light. So store them in a dark, cool place, such as a cupboard that's away from the stove and oven.
Many cooks store potatoes with or near onions, but they'll actually encourage sprouting. So will bananas and some other fruits. Apples, on the other hand, with the ethylene gas they give off, will prevent them from sprouting.
How long can I store my potatoes?
By storing potatoes in a paper bag in a cool, dry, and dark spot in your kitchen, you can keep them fresh for up to two weeks. If you have a cool dark spot in your basement, potatoes can last up to two to three months. (Papa Leite wintered over his homegrown potatoes in the cellar bulkhead with nary a sprout.)