I know that the title of this post is a pretty big claim, but I have the guns to back it up. It probably won’t surprise you, given that I have food blog, that I’m the primary cook in my relationship. It’s not that Graham can’t cook, just that I enjoy it more, have more time on my hands, and am more of a natural. So I end up cooking most of our meals, but there is one dish that he remains the king of: roast potatoes.
Graham has an almost unnatural passion for roasties. He could happily eat them, and just them, for every meal for the rest of his life. He requires in a perfect roast potato a nice fluffy middle, and uniformly crunchy outsides. And while Graham is normally very genteel in social situations, all bets are off when roasties are involved. We were recently at a dinner party where he proudly proclaimed to the table that he had once stabbed a great aunt over roast potatoes (with a fork, I hastily added) while helping himself to more potatoes.
I’ve forgiven him for this, mostly because he taught me this recipe. There are a few important techniques which yield the perfect potato. The size of the chunks is completely up to you, but keep in mind that smaller chunks=larger crisping area. That’s math I can get behind. You need to parboil them briefly (that’s what gives you the fluffy center), being careful not to overdo it lest they turn mushy. Once they’ve been drained, they should be returned back to the pot, lid on, and banged about. This adds texture, which helps the crisping process. We like the crisping process.
After that it’s all very straightforward. Add the fat and seasonings to the pot, and mix them around really well until all of the potatoes are evenly coated. For the fat, I used duck fat because we had some in the fridge (I’ll explain why I casually have duck fat in the fridge in a future post), and while it does certainly impart a delicious new dimension to the roasties, olive oil works just fine. In the recipe, I’ve said salt and pepper to taste mostly because I don’t want to admit the amount of salt I used. Graham really likes salt. If I’m cooking for company, I always include rosemary at this stage as well.
When you put your potatoes in the roasting tin, make sure they aren’t too crowded. If they don’t have the space to be themselves, they end up steaming instead of roasting. Disaster. I probably could’ve fit a few more on the tin in the picture above, but better safe than sorry. You should give them a stir around once while they’re roasting to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom (although just between me and you, I often don’t. Lazy). And when they come out of the oven, you should have these.
The Best Roast Potatoes You’ll Ever Eat
4 medium sized potatoes
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons olive oil (or duck fat!)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 230°C (450°F). Bring a pot of water large enough to accommodate the potatoes to a boil. Peel your potatoes and cut them into chunks. When the water is boiling, put the potatoes in, cover, and parboil for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and return to the pot. Sprinkle the flour over, hold the lid in place and shake the pot up and down to rough the potatoes up. The rougher, the crispier. Pour in your fat and seasonings, and mix well with a wooden spoon to make sure that everything is evenly distributed.
Spread the potatoes out on the roasting tin (avoid ceramic or glass), making sure they all have enough room. Roast in the oven, stirring once, for about 45 minutes until they’re crispy and golden. Try not to eat the whole lot yourself.