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Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Pecorino Recipe

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Pecorino Recipe

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Crispy fingerling potatoes

These finger-sized potatoes benefit from covered baking in the oven, making them soft and flavorful, and then achieve the final level of crispness with a quick stint under the broiler. Grating the nutty pecorino before broiling gives the potatoes a touch of creaminess while adding more after is just pure brilliance.

This dish works perfectly with roast chicken but could even work with roast fish.


  • 1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and sliced lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • Dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan, combine the potatoes with just enough olive oil and wine to coat them (there should not be excess liquid). Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs; mix. Cover tightly and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven.

Turn the broiler on high. Uncover and add a layer of grated cheese to the potatoes. Place on the top rack of the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes or until crispy, mixing halfway to ensure even browning. Remove from oven, add another layer of cheese, and serve immediately.

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Pecorino Recipe - Recipes

Make the aioli: Combine the egg, 2 tablespoons of the oil, mustard, vinegar, garlic, and salt in a blender or the small bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the rest of the oil in a very thin stream (this should take at least a minute) to create a thick, mayonnaise-like texture. Season with more salt to taste.

Note: If the aioli “breaks” during the emulsification process, no worries. Transfer it to a cup, then add another egg and a teaspoon of mustard to the empty blender and blend. Slowly drizzle the broken aioli back in while the motor is running to emulsify. Viola!

Make the crispy fingerling potatoes: Toss the halved fingerling potatoes in 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a heavy un-oiled baking sheet to 425°F for 10 minutes, then use oven mitts to remove the baking sheet and arrange the potatoes, cut side down, on the baking sheet and roast until the underside is crisp, 15 minutes.

Flip and roast an additional 5-10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper.

How to make Smashed Fingerling Potatoes

The fingerling potatoes are cooked twice to ensure they are perfectly cooked on the inside without burning the outside. First boil (or steam) the potatoes in salted water until they can be pierced with a paring knife, but are not completely cooked.

Let them cool slightly, and then you can either smash them on a cutting board, or you can smash them right into the skillet with the back of a spatula. I find it easiest to smash them before placing them in the skillet.

Having enough oil in the skillet is essential to crisping without burning the potatoes. You will be removing the potatoes with a slotted spatula, so most of the oil stays behind in the skillet.

Use an oil that has a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil. I wouldn’t recommend using olive oil, which has a lower smoke point and will burn up at the higher temperature.

Once the potatoes are golden and crispy on both sides carefully remove them and immediately season well with kosher salt & freshly ground pepper.

You can add herbs like rosemary or thyme to the skillet while the potatoes cook, which will add flavor to the oil. Add soft herbs (like parsley or chives) at the end after the potatoes finish cooking so they stay bright green.

What You Need for Roasted Garlic and Herb Potatoes

  • Potatoes: Feel free to use any type of potato here, sweet potatoes included. Just keep in mind that the larger the variety, the more chopping you’ll have to do.

The Secret to Perfectly Crispy Roasted Potatoes?

  • Spread Them Out: Evenly spread the potatoes out into a single layer with a little bit of room between each one. You want to ensure air circulation and avoid steam that can build up when potatoes are stacked one atop the other.

Flip them Half Way through the Process

The potatoes will undergo two baking sessions. Halfway through the baking process, flip the potatoes over to ensure both sides become crispy and golden brown. Some potatoes will become golden brown after the first bake. Others will have to be flipped flesh-side down for the second bake to ensure they too become golden brown.

Fingerling potatoes on a baking sheet, half way through the baking process.

Step 1: Slice the potatoes. Begin by slicing the potatoes in half vertically.

Step 2: Add oil. Next, add the oil to a large skillet and heat it over medium-high. Then, add the salt, along with the potatoes cut side down into the skillet and pan-fry them for 7-8 minutes -- you want them to get nice and crispy.

Step 3: Cook the potatoes. Cover the skillet with a lid, reduce the heat to low and cook the potatoes for 10-12 minutes. You'll know they're done when they're easy to pierce with a fork. Top the potatoes with black pepper and fresh herbs and dig in!

Why are fingerling potatoes ideal for this recipe?

Fingerlings are miniature, long potatoes with thin skin and a low starch content. Once roasted, they are soft and buttery with a very pleasant mild flavor. They don’t need much time to roast up and they always turn out nice and crispy.

Potatoes get a bad rap for being unhealthy but this couldn’t be further from the truth! Potatoes themselves are actually quite healthy. They are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron, and are an excellent source of potassium. A serving of potatoes provides about 20% of the recommended daily value for potassium, an important mineral that may help blunt sodium’s effects on blood pressure. The reason why people always tout potatoes as unhealthy is because of the way that they’re generally prepared. Fried in oil and smothered in sugary ketchup or fat-laden mayo, butter, cheese, sour cream…you get it. These crispy smashed fingerling spuds are roasted in avocado oil and sprinkled with just some salt and fresh chives, making them an absolutely delicious and healthy side for any meal.

  • 1 lbs. (0.4 kg) fingerling potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (207°C).
  2. Rinse the fingerling potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Slice each potato horizontally.
  3. Heat up an oven-safe skillet (cast-iron preferred) on medium heat. Add the melted butter and saute the garlic. Add the potatoes and stir a few times before adding the garlic powder and salt. Stir to combine well.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes turn golden brown, tender and cooked through. Top with the chopped parsley, if using. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

Reader Favorites

Pecorino Roasted Potatoes and Fennel

Today I’m sharing a recipe that has two ingredients considered kind of taboo in some circles: potatoes and cheese. Carbs? Gasp! Dairy? Oh my! These pecorino roasted potatoes remind me of an encounter in Gilmore Girls in season 5 (I’m still making my way through the series again, post-revival). There’s a scene in Luke’s diner where Lane introduces french fries to a Korean exchange student. The girl quotes Mrs. Kim in referring to them as “the devil’s starchy fingers [and] a gateway food that leads to other foods like pizza, movie popcorn, [and] deep-fried Snickers bars.”

I know it’s just a TV show, but there is SO MUCH wrapped up in that statement. It reflects how our society condemns certain foods and food groups. We judge people for the food choices they make.

If you follow me on Facebook , you know that I posted about orthorexia nervosa this week. The post was a result of something that’s been something stirring in my circles lately. My friend Amal over at The Studio Fig gave an inspiring talk about perseverance, persistence, and all things taboo at a Creative Mornings event. Then we had a chat about vulnerability, honesty and the struggles of being a solo female entrepreneur. I also had a chance to catch up with a wonderful friend who works at The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley and talk about how our work helps others heal their relationships with food. A third friend (who is a marriage and family therapist) shared an image on Facebook that comments on how ridiculous the dialogue around eating cake can be .

As a part of this online (and offline) food space, there was just something in The Food Chain podcast about orthorexia that really struck a chord with me. I have not battled an eating disorder, though I know men and women who have and are recovering. But I have struggled with and obsessed over diet, health, wellness, exercise, body image, etc like so many of us. It’s not surprising really, with the years of figure skating, sorority life, and working in the intersection of food, health, and education. And I have struggled with judgement of myself, and of others, especially around food.

With many competing fad diets, contradicting health and nutrition recommendations, and overwhelming food marketing, knowing what to eat and what “eating healthy” truly means can be confusing. Many diet recommendations are debated, marketed, and promoted on social media. And people get ALL UP in a tizzy!

So, sometimes, it’s hard to figure out what you should really eat. But in trying to find a diet that works for you, it’s equally important to remember that what works for you may not work for someone else . And that just focusing on the physical side, without socioeconomic and political components of food. No matter how you describe your eating preferences, I firmly believe you have to do what makes you feel good physically, mentally and emotionally.

Sometimes, those food choices may include budae jjigae with spam and Kraft American singles to nourish your soul or Utica greens with smoky bacon, cheese, and spicy peppers. Other times, the only thing that will satisfy you after many days of travel is a baby kale salad with quinoa and sweet potatoes. You may choose to serve these pecorino roasted potatoes or indulge in chili cheese fries at a baseball game. Our emotional, mental, and physical health are all affected by the food choices we make. Balance is important. Ultimately, guilt and anxiety around food have no place at the table. And let’s be clear, those chili cheese fries? The primary reason I go to baseball games.

So today, in sharing this recipe for pecorino roasted potatoes, I want to emphasize my goal to provide recipes that inspire you in the kitchen to enjoy making and enjoy eating food. Sure, my recipes are a mix of vegetable forward, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc. But those are secondary benefits rather than the driving force. My hope that The Seasoned Vegetable can be an inspiration and a resource to meet your needs, whatever they may be.

Back to the recipe, I honestly think these pecorino roasted potatoes are one of the best things I’ve made in a while. It’s a simple side dish with comforting salty, cheesy goodness. It has roasted potatoes, which, come on, who doesn’t love roasted potatoes in all their starchy glory? And the lemon zest just brightens everything up alongside the crunchy fennel. Because I love fennel. Seriously. I know some people have an aversion. But when it’s roasted this way, the licorice flavor almost disappears and a beautiful sweet crunchiness emerges.

Others may see the food I create as healthy. And that’s neither a good nor a bad thing. Honestly, I feature vegetables in my recipes because I love them and I’m inspired by them. I hope you are too.

This variety is considered waxy potatoes (like red potatoes, white potatoes, and Yukon golds), which refers to the fact that they are relatively low in starch, making them great for roasting and boiling. When it comes to mashing, you're better off with starchy potatoes like Russets.

Fingerling potatoes are available in multiple colors, including yellow, orange, red, or even purple. Use a combination of colors or just one. The yellow ones, sometimes referred to as Russian banana potatoes, are probably the most common.

You can halve them lengthwise before roasting or roast them whole, depending on your preference and the size of the spuds. If they're on the larger side, halving might be best. Otherwise, roast them whole. You can also slice them crossways into rounds, which is useful if you're planning to sauté them. Think about who will be eating them. If you're cooking for little kids, they might enjoy picking up the smaller potatoes if left whole, but if they are very big, slice them in half.


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