Perfect butter-roasted potatoes.

I like to say that I have a strong personality tendency toward order and correctness (as assessed by my DISC profile, which is high in Steadiness and Compliance). This recipe for perfect roasted potatoes is right up my alley: orderly, organized … and fantastically delicious.

I spotted the recipe in the October issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and the photo immediately caught my eye: rows of perfectly rectangular slices of potato, with bay leaves tucked beautifully among them and a scattering of coarse fleur de sel. Since I was serving these for a family dinner, I thought to prepare them a few hours ahead, then cover the pan with foil and simply pop them back in the oven for 15 minutes or so before dinner to rewarm them.

perfect roasted potatoes with butter and bay leaves

(adapted from Bon Appetit)
serves 4

4 large baking potatoes
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
15–20 (about) fresh or dried bay leaves
coarse salt for seasoning and fleur de sel for finishing

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly smear some of the melted butter on the bottom and sides of a 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Peel the potatoes, but don't rinse them (you want the starchy goodness). Trim a bit off each end, then trim the 4 sides of each potato to make a rectangle. (Halt! Don't throw away the ends and sides of the potato; make mashed potatoes out of the trimmings!) Using a mandoline or chef's knife, slice each rectangle into "dominoes" 1/8-inch thick. Stack the slices together, and then fan them out in the prepared baking dish like you're spreading out a deck of cards. Repeat with all 4 potatoes, arranging them in neat rows. Insert a bay leaf between some of the slices at random intervals. Sprinkle with coarse salt and drizzle with the remaining melted butter.

Bake the potatoes for about 1 hour, rotating the pan after about 30 minutes. Potatoes around the rim of the pan should be golden and slightly crispy; those in the center should be tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. (Note: If you're pre-baking the potatoes and holding them to serve later, bake them for a slightly shorter time and then return them to the oven to finish cooking.) Sprinkle with fleur de sel before serving.