The secret to perfect roast potatoes every time
I HAVE been on a mission to cook the perfect roast potato for too many years now. The fancy whiz-bang oven I had in my last kitchen was dreadful; despite my best efforts I failed to achieve the heady delights of a golden brown crisp exterior with a fluffy white centre.
Fast forward a few months. My new house has a bog-standard white enamel upright stove, circa 1986, and bingo. Terrific spuds, every time.
Is it the stove, or have I finally nailed the perfect combination of correct potato variety, fat and temperature? I guess I'll never know, but I'm happy to eat the results.
As far as potatoes go, you must choose a floury variety. I have a soft spot for terribly unhealthy animal fat to cook roast spuds. Duck or pork fat (lard - such an unattractive word) both give superior results. But if you want a healthier alternative, choose olive oil.
Perfect roast potatoes
2kg floury potatoes (sebago, coliban, desiree or dutch cream)
3 tbs duck or pork fat, or olive oil
3 tbs chopped fresh rosemary or thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (optional)
sea salt, to season.
METHOD: Preheat oven to 220C. Peel potatoes and cut in half if they are on the large side; you want pieces that are a little larger than a golf ball.
Place potatoes in a pot with enough cold water to cover. Place a lid on the pot, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for eight minutes. Turn off hotplate, drain and shake the pan; remove lid and return pot to the hotplate until the potatoes have dried out a little (about a minute). The potatoes should have roughened, fluffy edges.
While potatoes are simmering, put the fat in a roasting pan and heat in the oven. Place potatoes in the hot fat, turning to coat. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and garlic if using; cook at 220C for 30 minutes. Turn potatoes once and cook for a further 30 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
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