Some of us learned this lesson early. For example, it may have been in kindergarten, when we were cast in the role of the goofy pink pig in a school play, holding a large cardboard animal in front of our puffy party dress, wearing a big white bow in our equally puffy hair (later immortalized in photographs we’d see again and again over the years).
But there are others, I suppose, who didn’t find out until high school or even adulthood, when they didn’t get the promotion they wanted or didn’t become famous. Or, if they did, it didn’t turn out to be what they’d hoped.
Whenever it happens, we eventually learn: Not everyone can be the star.
And maybe I’ve just known this for so long that I’m prone to justifying the position, but here’s my take: It’s not so bad to play a supporting role. In order for anyone to become a star, others must play the supporting roles to get them there.
For every leading lady, there’s a winsome best friend. For every bestselling author, there are publishers and editors and illustrators, not to mention readers – the people who ultimately determine a book’s success.
And in that way, we behind-the-scenes types play a pretty important part, don’t you think?
I’ve found this rule to be pretty universal. In fact, it extends beyond human interaction to inanimate objects, and things we do on a routine basis. Like the way we view certain foods, for example.
There are, of course, the rockstars of the food world, the ones everyone wants to eat and talk about: the steak dinners, the homemade pizzas, the chocolate tortes. I think of them as the popular kids who never went through any awkward stages and won every award in school.
Everyone seems to overlook the cooked carrots or the boiled green beans.
These everyday vegetables aren’t dynamic forces on their own – maybe more like the bookworms or so-called geeks, and yet they make a big difference to the overall meal, completing dinners, bringing out the flavor of starring entrees, and providing the nutrition you need.
So, I offer this recipe in honor of all of those who so often go unappreciated, in an attempt to shine the spotlight somewhere new, somewhere deserving. I know you will enjoy these rosemary-covered roasted red potatoes.
Whatever you’re having for dinner this week, I bet at least once, this easy-to-make, easy-to-love side dish will be the perfect complement.
Firm to the touch, red potatoes are more sugary than regular potatoes, but less starchy. And look at them! You can’t deny they’re pretty. Set on a plate with grilled chicken or blackened fish, they provide a punch of color with vibrantly rich red skins.
As these potatoes cook, the assertive smell of chopped rosemary fills the kitchen, pine-like and earthy. The oven emits a shrill scream, the sound of hot oil sizzling in the pan amidst your potatoes, mingling rosemary into the juices.
And once roasted, these beauties turn stunningly golden, their skins crispy and wrinkled.
I like to pop them in my mouth one by one, biting past the crunchy exterior to soft, hot insides. They’re so tasty, I even like to eat them on their own, as the starring event, you could say.
It’s like one point for the sidekicks everywhere.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Chop the potatoes into quarters. Roughly chop the rosemary and measure out your ingredients to establish your mise en place.
Step 2 – Mix and Bake
Place the potatoes into a rimmed baking sheet or something similar (I used a rectangular cake pan) and coat them with olive oil. Add the salt (I like to use a naturally processed sea salt), ground black pepper (I prefer to use a pepper grinder to get a much tastier, freshly ground product), and rosemary. Toss to coat evenly.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
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Photos by Mike Quinn, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published January 30th, 2009. Revised and updated December 26th, 2017, with additional writing and editing by Mike Quinn.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.