Cuisine Fiend

perfect roast potatoes


Roast potatoes

perfect roast potatoes

  • Do:

  • pre-boil them
  • use lots of fat
  • start them off on the hob so they start to sizzle in the tray
  • season generously
  • roast them in hot oven (tricky, I know, if you have a roast going at the same time on low)
  • put them under the grill if no way can you spare the space in the oven
  • Don't:

  • keep them pre-boiled overnight and roast the next day – they’ll be nasty
  • roast without pre-boiling, unless making new roast potatoes – a different dish entirely
  • panic if they start to disintegrate when boiled – the rougher the surface the better
  • be afraid of goose or duck fat – it’s excellent and does not give you a heart attack
  • let them stand around when ready – meat can rest, potatoes can’t
  • just stick sprigs of thyme or rosemary among the spuds for roasting – it needs to be chopped finely to give them flavour
And now for the perfect roast potatoes:

  • floury potatoes (King Edward, Maris Piper, Desiree, Estima) unpeeled, halved or quartered if large
  • a bulb of garlic, divided into cloves, in skins
  • vegetable oil and a little butter
  • salt, pepper, any garlic seasoning mix
  • a sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped, chopped very finely – almost into powder

Pre-boil potatoes for roasting


Put the potatoes in a pan with salty water and bring to the boil. Let them cook for 15 minutes until they start breaking. If really floury, some might disintegrate so watch them. Drain and keep warm and dry. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7. Drizzle a little oil over the potatoes, season well and add chopped rosemary.

Put the roasting tray on the hob, on medium heat and add plenty of oil and a little butter – the butter will make them extra crispy. When it starts to sizzle, add the potatoes and the garlic cloves.  Turn them over and around so that they are thoroughly basted in the fat. Keep on the hob for another couple of minutes so they almost start frying, put in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, turning halfway through.

The garlic cloves might go quite dark but they will taste wonderful squeezed out of the skins.

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