Area Four and Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes

It was supposed to be like any other brunch.

Except we ended up getting pizza.

(I’ve had other unconventional things for brunch, so pizza wasn’t really a stretch.)

And then we tried the potatoes. Crispy, well-seasoned, wood oven-roasted home fries that I had to restrain myself from devouring, and that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days. And the brunch immediately got elevated to must do again soon.

Two of my friends and I went to Area Four in Kendall Square a couple of weeks ago.  While I was originally planning on getting an egg-based dish, which is what I usually order during brunch, I couldn’t resist trying one of the pizzas. I’ve heard many fantastic reviews of their pizzas.

I went with the Mushroom & Fontina pizza – with mushroom sauce, pecorino, and gremolata. I really liked the sharp flavors in this pizza, and the balance of topping to crust. The leftovers tasted great, too.

Leah went with The Hot Mess – two sunny side up eggs, home fries, bacon, breakfast sausage, caramelized onions, cheddar, scallions & pickled banana pepper relish (whew).

And Melissa went with the Pepperoni – a classic with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and pecorino.

Let’s take a closer look at that pizza. The crust is a wood oven-baked sourdough with just the right amount of airiness and chewiness. The disc-like slices of pepperoni were also charred to perfection. This was very, very good pizza.

And then there was this:

They look really plain but don’t be fooled; these were one of the best home fries I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot). So crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside, nicely seasoned, and tossed with some parsley. Thanks to these potatoes, brunch at Area Four became something etched on my mind, and something I can’t wait to do again.

And naturally, to calm my obsession I had to try and replicate the crispy potatoes myself.

The one thing I did differently than my usual way of roasting potatoes is that I microwaved the potatoes first to soften then up.

I wanted to make sure that these potatoes would not be lacking in flavor, so I added little pats of butter, in addition to olive oil, garlic, lemon, and rosemary. Then a little bit of white wine, because what doesn’t benefit from some wine?

Yield: serves 6

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes


1 lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
rind from 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Microwave the cut up potatoes for 8 minutes (you can also boil them), until the edges are softened but the centers are still hard.
  3. On a foil-lined baking dish, combine all the ingredients - except the butter, salt, pepper, and parsley - together. Toss and make sure that the potatoes are evenly coated. Before placing inside the oven, top the potatoes with the butter, cut into chunks.
  4. Roast for around 45, flipping the potatoes around every 15 minutes, until they're evenly browned and crispy.  Season with salt and pepper, top with parsley, and give it one more toss before serving.

It smelled amazing while roasting, and the potatoes came out crispy and flavorful – something worthy of a memorable brunch.

Do you like home fries? What’s the best you’ve tried?

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