Very few things delight as much as a perfectly cooked crispy golden roast potato. Golden and crispy on the outside with a fluffy middle, piled up on the side of your roast dinner plate, ready to be coated with gravy…
I have tried many different ways of crisping up roast potatoes over the years, cooking them in a variety of different types of fat, with different potato types and at different heats. When it comes to varieties of potatoes there are two that rule the roost, King Edward and Maris Piper. Don’t be tempted to go for an all-rounder supermarket potato that claims to be good for boiling, chipping, baking AND roasting as most cases it will give you fairly unexciting results.
For the fat, I use (shock shock) Olive Oil. I do think that you can get a nice crispy potato from goose fat (my mum makes incredible ones every Christmas) but I find goose fat is a one off purchase for Christmas. Unlike olive oil I don’t tend to use it up in other recipes so any that is leftover tends to sit forgotten in the fridge.
The key to the crispiness is to parboil the potatoes so they are still firm in the middle, but softer on the edges. I find about 5 minutes on full boil is enough. Then, drain them well, shaking the colander gently to rough the sides a little (but don’t go mad!) and leave them in the colander to cool a little. Heat the oven and then place a baking tray coated in olive oil into the oven to allow the oil to heat up.
I am no scientist, but I definitely think the comparison between the slightly cooled potatoes going straight into the hot oil is what makes them go so crisp and golden. I also always make sure they are on the top shelf, and are the last things to come out of the oven when I serve up as the longer they are in the oven the crispier they will become! Obviously don’t cook them for hours or you will have rock hard or burnt potatoes – but a good hour in the oven I find does the trick!
I do like to make sure I cut the potatoes into a variety of sizes, halving some and quartering others. The smaller pieces will then become extra crispy little roasted potatoes that survive being doused in gravy and these are always the most prized roasties of all. Delicious.
- 3 - 4 King Edward or Maris Piper Potatoes per person
- A good drizzle of Olive Oil
- Optional: Sprig of rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic
- Peel and cut the potatoes into halves and quarters so you have a variety of sizes.
- Place in a large saucepan, add boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes.
- Drain and leave to cool a little.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190'C. Drizzle enough olive oil into a baking tray to coat the base.
- Once the oven is hot, place the hot tray in the oven to heat the oil, this should take a few minutes.
- Once the oil is hot, remove the tray from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift the potatoes into the oil and roll to ensure they are all evenly coated. Add a sprig of rosemary and the garlic cloves if using.
- Return to the top shelf of the oven to roast, turning them after half an hour.
- After an hour the potatoes should be golden and crispy, remove from the oven and serve as soon as possible.