Got Potatoes and Tuna? You’re Most of the Way to Dinner

Of all the comforting, carb-heavy starches of the kitchen, potatoes rarely make it to the center of the plate. Unlike rice and pasta, which often take the starring role in main courses, potatoes are relegated to the sidelines — usually as fluffy fleshed arm candy to some meaty protein hogging the limelight.

But to me, a crackly roasted potato is a worthy focus of any meal, especially when it’s drenched in a caper- and anchovy-flecked brown butter and topped with canned tuna.

In a way, it’s very similar to one of my go-to pasta dishes. But instead of al dente pasta, it’s the potato’s golden, crunchy skin that gives the dish its texture. (It also adds an earthy note to all the other more saline flavors.)

For this dish, I like fingerling potatoes best. They have slightly thicker skins that stand up to roasting better than, say, thin-skinned Yukon golds. But use whatever potatoes you’ve got. Even sweet potatoes would be excellent, giving a honeyed contrast next to all that anchovy and garlic pungency.

To get roasted potatoes with the most downy interiors and crispiest skin, I boil them until they’re thoroughly soft, offering absolutely no resistance when you plunge in a fork.

Let them cool, smash them to expose their insides, then toss them with lots of oil. Be generous: The more oil you use, the more golden and crunchy they get. Also be sure to arrange them in a large pan so there’s plenty of space in between each one, which also helps them brown.

While the potatoes are roasting, you can make the caper and anchovy sauce. This brown butter, spiked with garlic, is the kind of miracle elixir that makes everything taste better: cauliflower, asparagus, chicken, a hunk of bread or that fillet of salmon in the freezer that you forgot about for a year. But I think to be drizzled over potatoes is its true calling: The potatoes absorb the silky butter perfectly, soaking up every bit of richness and oomph.

If you were serving these potatoes as a side dish, you could throw on some herbs for garnish, and stop right there. They’d do honor to any roast chicken or pork chops you’ve got. But adding a can of tuna (or chickpeas or white beans) makes them shine all on their own.

Recipe: Roasted Potatoes With Anchovies and Tuna