Roasted baby red potatoes with lemon and bay leaves

March 19, 2010

Early spring is the toughest season of the year if you love to cook with vegetables as I do.

By mid-March, I’m so ready for the exuberance of spring. Problem is, I can’t find much locally except greenhouse-grown baby greens and the last bit of winter’s root crops.

Thankfully, the citrus season is still going strong in other parts of the country: the cheerful, sunny fruits make the journey to our market shelves, which now are overflowing with lemons, oranges, grapefruits and a myriad of exotic tangerines.

As for me, I don’t even have to go to the market to get lemons. Every month I receive a box of plump and fragrant lemons from my father (and even occasionally from my good friend Kristy) who live in Southern California. He has an enormous lemon tree in his backyard, which tirelessly produces a massive crop every year.

Every time I open that box I marvel: the scent of a fresh lemon is so floral, its zest so tangy and its juice so tingly. A lemon enlivens everything you cook with it. This little fruit has so much to offer and so much to give that I don’t waste a drop of its juice or an inch of its skin.

With all these marvelous attributes, it’s not surprising what a single lemon can do for a dish. Aside from using my father’s lemons in vinaigrettes, sauces, cocktails and desserts, I also like to roast them with baby red potatoes. Their transformative power on the humble tubers is remarkable. Add garlic and bay leaves and the roasted potatoes become tangy, earthy and just succulent.

There’s something to be grateful for here, while we wait for the new season to get underway: a little lemon can brighten up a dish — and be the bridge we so need from winter to spring.

Roasted baby red potatoes with lemon and bay leaves

serves 4
active time: 15 min

  1. 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg) baby Red Bliss potatoes – unpeeled and cut in 1/2″ slices
  2. 6 large garlic cloves – unpeeled
  3. 1 lemon – cut crosswise in 1/8″ slices
  4. 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
  5. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  7. freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF (232ºC).
  2. Place the potatoes, garlic, lemon slices and bay leaves in a non-stick roasting pan large enough to hold the ingredients in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove foil. Toss the potatoes again. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 to 25 additional minutes, until the potatoes are golden-brown, tossing once. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

side dish, side vegetable, potatoes
© 2014 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Divina March 19, 2010 at 8:02 am

I absolutely love lemon. I totally agree that it brightens up the any dish. This is a lovely potato dish.

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Dana Treat March 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

Why have I never thought of this? I love lemons and use them constantly – it’s one thing I always have in my refrigerator. I am jealous that you get shipments! I end up buying them at Costco because I use so many of them and they keep well. I make roasted potatoes often (I could eat just that for dinner) and will have to try this variation next time.

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Desiree March 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

Never thought of roasting lemons but your recipe does look and sound both interesting and flavorful! Thanks for sharing.

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Viviane Bauquet Farre March 19, 2010 at 11:37 am

Divina, Dana, Desiree… (All D’s I just realized!)… Thank you for your comments. Enjoy the recipe, it’s easy to make, so delicious and the lemon flavor not overpowering. I find that this recipe so versatile… but I agree with you Dana, I could just make that a meal!

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jay March 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

This sounds like a delicious and simple twist on roasted red potatoes. Curious though, what is the benefit of leaving the garlic unpeeled as opposed to peeling it beforehand?

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Viviane Bauquet Farre March 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Hi Jay, I leave the garlic in its skin because I want just a hint of garlic to this dish – the lemon and bay leaves are the predominant flavors here… Enjoy!

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Anne March 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hi Viviane, I’m excited to make this dish and picked up the ingredients yesterday. However, I’m struggling to think of a vegan entree to serve this with. Any suggestions?

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Viviane Bauquet Farre March 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Hello Anne, I would serve the roasted potatoes with a grain dish (pilaf or even a salad like this one made with quinoa: http://foodandstyle.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/quinoa-with-piquillo-peppers-cured-olives-and-frisee/ and sautéed or braised leafy greens (kale, chard or beet greens).

Here’s a recipe you might enjoy for sautéed greens: http://foodandstyle.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/beets-from-head-to-toe/

Let me know how it turns out! Happy cooking and bon appétit…

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arugulove March 21, 2010 at 11:34 pm

The flavor combinations here look so good!

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Anne March 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Viviane, I made this tonight with the quinoa dish suggested (some adaptations of the quinoa based on what I had on hand), and it was fantastic. My dinner guests loved it, as did I. Thanks for the wonderful recipes! Also, I saw your video on vegetariantimes.com and really enjoyed it.

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notyet100 March 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

slurp,…;)

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Christine @ Fresh Local and Best March 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I agree just a squeeze of lemon juice and a touch of zest brings food and flavors to life. This looks like an excellent side dish!

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mehalv March 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Mmm this sounds delicious. My mouth is watering looking at those potatoes, and I can almost smell the lemon you described!

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Tricia March 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I love your blog

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Donna Ford April 25, 2011 at 9:44 am

We love red potatoe’s. Your recipe looks delicious! Thank you!

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Megan @ pipandebby April 28, 2011 at 11:06 am

Oh wow, this looks soooo delicious! I can practically taste the freshness just by looking at your photos. Yum!

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Lacey @ dishfolio.com April 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Your pics are great. We’d love for you to post your pics/recipes at dishfolio.com!

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Isabelle April 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I wish there was someone in my life to send me boxes of homegrown lemons! So jealous.
My favourite olive shop does a blend of cured black olives with bay leaf and lemon that are positively divine… I bet this recipe would be quite lovely with a handful of those olives thrown in for good measure.

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Julie Fordyce February 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

I’m going to try it with preserved lemons, my new fun ingredient.

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