Although small red potatoes are often referred to as baby potatoes, the tender little potatoes, or new potatoes, can be any variety of immature potato in addition to red. The microwave oven is a good cooking method for baby potatoes because they have a high moisture content that works well for steaming. While regular potatoes are available year round, baby potatoes are often found in spring and summer because they are harvested early and then sold shortly thereafter.
Select firm baby potatoes with smooth skin and no cuts or blemishes. Avoid potatoes with sprouts or green areas.
Wash the potatoes under cool water, using a vegetable brush to remove soil and loose skin. Baby potatoes need no peeling, as the tender skin is flavorful and nutrient-rich.
Cut the potatoes in half. If the potatoes are very small, leave them whole.
Place butter or margarine in a microwave-safe baking dish. For a low-fat dish, use heart-healthy canola oil or olive oil.
Heat the butter for about 20 seconds, or until it melts. Arrange the potatoes on top of the melted butter. Stir gently to coat the potatoes with butter.
Sprinkle pepper and salt on the potatoes. You can also add extra seasonings or herbs such as seasoned salt, thyme, rosemary, parsley, paprika, dill or garlic powder.
Cover the baking dish. If the baking dish doesn't have a lid, use wax paper or cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap.
Cook the potatoes on high power for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Stir the potatoes once about halfway through the cooking time. Larger red potatoes may require up to 16 minutes.
Allow the potatoes to stand for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. A short resting is necessary because the potatoes continue to cook for a few minutes after they're removed from the microwave oven.