So I've been thinking about Chocolate & Zucchini's post for Perfect Roast Potatoes for two months now. Seriously, Clotilde, you stopped me in my tracks three ways. Such is the power of blogging, yes?!
THE BIG IDEA First, the idea of mastering, really nailing, the simple recipes you'll make again and again. Until now, my own practice has been all about variety, throwing noodles against the wall to see how each one sticks. That's well and good but what, you know, if you'd just like to roast some really good potatoes? You want to know exactly how to do that. Thank you, Clotilde, this idea has embedded itself in my brain, it won't let go.
SIMPLE IS GOOD BUT IT ISN'T ALWAYS BEST Second, Clotilde's recipe for roasted potatoes. Yes, it takes two steps and usually, I'm all about eliminating steps. But these are by far the crispiest, most evenly cooked roasted potatoes, to emerge from my oven. I've made them every couple of weeks since mid-January, they're fabulous. The lesson is, some times, not always but some times, a little extra effort pays huge dividends.
JUST MAYBE, A FAMILY CONNECTION Third, I call this Clotilde's recipe but all her commenters from Britain are asking, "Isn't this how everyone roasts potatoes?" In a funny way, I keep thinking that this is my grandfather's recipe for roast potatoes -- a grandfather who died when my mother was young, so not a man I knew, but he was English, and family lore says that he loved Sunday dinner's roast beef with roasted potatoes. What a funny recipe connection, this. If my Canadian family ever updates the family cookbook, I'll include this recipe and call it "Grampa's English Roasted Potatoes".
So what's the big deal about these roasted potatoes? Technique, technique, technique.
Step One - Cook the peeled or partially peeled potato pieces in salted water for 5 minutes. This is called 'parboiling' - it means to 'partially' cook.
Step Two - Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. This is the fun part -- do a little dance, shake it up, you want the potatoes to bounce off the sides of the pot and each other, roughing them up a little. It's fun!
Step Three - Drop the potatoes into a baking sheet that's been heated -- oil and all -- in a hot oven. The potato pieces will sizzle as they hit the hot oil, a good thing! Toss them around, covering all the surface. Roast and toss, roast and toss. That's it!
The potatoes (and carrots too, if you're a carrot lover) have been roasted to perfection. You're gonna love these, I promise.
"Just tried this & it is lovely -- " ~ FF
"Wooo talk about delicious!" ~ Rebekah
HOW TO ROAST POTATOES to PERFECTION
Time to table: 50 minutes
Serves 4 - 8 (see TIPS)
1 pound potatoes (see ALANNA's TIPS), washed well and peeled or partially peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound carrots, optional, trimmed, peeled and cut in two-inch lengths on the diagonal
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Bring the potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil. Once the water boils, cook the potatoes for 5 minutes. While they cook, cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and pool the olive oil in the center. Before draining the potatoes, slip the baking sheet into the oven. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Shake the pot around until the outer edges are rough and bruised. Remove the baking tray from the oven and drop the potatoes and carrots into the oil. Drizzle with salt and swish the pieces around until the sides are coated with fat. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes and every 5 minutes afterward. Transfer to a serving dish, serve and savor!
ALANNA'S TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
POTATO CHOICES For soft-skinned potatoes like red potatoes or Yukon smooth-fleshed potatoes, say, use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of the skin, one running vertically and one horizontally. For rough-skinned potatoes like Idaho mealy-fleshed baking potatoes, peel the entire potato.
WHY ADD CARROTS? Because they're so good, especially combined with the potatoes. But honestly, I add carrots to the potatoes to provide a lower-carb vegetable to eat with the potatoes.
SERVING SIZE Roasted vegetables shrink so portion size is tricky. I normally allow 1/4 pound of vegetables per serving but have learned with potatoes, especially, even ones that aren't as good as these, that this seems really skimpy and that what 'seems' like a serving if closer to a 1/2 pound. Clotilde, too, says she allows well more than a half pound of potatoes per person. The carrots are my way to 'fill us up' without gorging on potatoes. The other night, two of us ate half of this recipe but I counted it, per person, as one 1/4 pound serving of potatoes and one 1/4 pound serving of carrots. The math works for me. Forewarning, it took will power not to gobble these up!
LESS OIL I'm intrigued that 1 tablespoon of oil per pound of potatoes/carrots is more than enough for these roasted potatoes and carrots. This is the 'standard' oil:vegetable ratio I use. But roasted vegetables always seem to need more, so 2 tablespoons per pound has become my standard. I'm going to experiment with heating the oil first with other roasted vegetables, this might make a big difference in how much oil is needed. I'll check and report in!
OIL vs DUCK FAT Forever and more, I've been intending to roast potatoes in duck fat, something I hear is heavenly. Clotilde mentions duck fat too. In St. Louis, there's just one place to buy duck fat, Kitchen Conservatory, I must get by there soon!
~ Slooow Baked Potatoes ~
~ Best Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans ~
~ Rosemary Potatoes ~
~ more potato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes' ~
~ Mashed Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli ~
~ more potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade