Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with 2 quarts of water. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them dry in their own steam for 10 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a rimmed baking sheet and gently toss them with the olive oil. Roast the potatoes in the oven for about 1 hour, turning them every so often with a flat spatula, until golden brown. Pour off any excess oil in the pan. Scatter the olives and garlic over the potatoes and toss. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the potatoes for 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle them with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a little fresh pepper and serve piping hot.
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