A Salute to Simplicity with Creamy Basil Potatoes


When working in food communications, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest fad.

You know what I’m talking about. Those highfalutin ingredients and dishes that sound just as good rolling off the tongue as they taste rolling on it.

Truffle-infused such-and-such. Organic trendy-berry compote. Grass-fed dodo eggs, 17 ways.

It’s easy to forget that sometimes simple can be good, too.

Less is more.

And ease of preparation is key.

Case in point: When I was faced with the need to throw together a side dish for a recent family gathering, I knew I needed something requiring simple ingredients and even simpler prep.

To the rescue? My invaluable Epicurious app, which pointed me in the direction of this highly customizable recipe for Creamy Chive Potatoes from the May issue of Bon Appétit.

Like with most recipes, I riffed a bit on the ingredients. They call for chives. I threw in rough-chopped basil instead. I also added garlic because, well, I can’t not cook with garlic.

The exercise reminded me of something. When in a pinch, simple solutions can be a lifesaver. They can also open the door to new possibilities and inspire experimentation and discovery, too.

 And often, their impact is anything but ordinary.

Apologies for no photo of the finished recipe! Blogger fail.

The dish was such a hit, by the time it even dawned on me to snap a photo, we were down to one scoop of leftovers in a piece of Tupperware.

So you’ll just have to make it yourself and let me know how it turns out. Feel free to put a twist on my version, too.

Just remember to keep it simple.

Creamy Basil Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings 

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

7-8 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1/2” cubes

3 cups half-and-half

1/2 cup chopped basil

Salt and pepper, to taste


Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté garlic. Combine potatoes, half-and-half, and basil; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender (the tip of a paring knife meets no resistance) and sauce is thick, 35-45 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining whole basil leaves before serving.


Note: The United States Potato Board is a FleishmanHillard client. 

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