Roast potatoes are only a side dish but my goodness, aren’t they everyone’s favourite? This is a heavenly version of small potatoes parboiled, crushed, roasted into crispy wonder and topped with tangy cream.
I can see the advantages of plant-based diets: there are so many things you can do with potatoes! While a steak is a steak is a steak, fry it or grill it. You wouldn’t wrap a steak in aluminium foil or cover it in salt crust and bake for an hour. Nor would you serve it boiled with butter. Mashed steak? Yeah, I know there’s burger but it’s not the same thing. Steak won’t make dumplings or gnocchi and a steak dauphinoise would probably give you a heart attack, and that purely by looking at the concoction.
That’s a joke of course but I am amazed how many different ways you can have with the humble spud. Roasting must be the most beloved of all those methods: who doesn’t love a roast potato? A Sunday roast isn’t a Sunday roast without them and they can save a Christmas dinner if the turkey is a bit burnt. Even the roasting itself has many variations, some subject of heated discussions: roast in oil? mix of oil and butter? only ever goose fat? drippings from under the roast meat? The simple verdict is they are always good as long as they roll and crispen around in good amount of fat and are seasoned with plenty salt.
There are variations on the initial prep as well: you can boil them beforehand or roast from raw; the latter especially applies to new potatoes. You can peel them or not; wedge or quarter them for boiling; coat in semolina or polenta or shake and crush to boost the fluffiness factor. This is another way and it makes for slightly different roasties using small, waxy (but not baby new) potatoes.
Boiled until soft, they get then smashed into flatty dumplings, with the skin bursting to release fluffy centre to the mercy of sizzling fat, thus creating amazing combination of super-crisp flesh and pleasantly chewy skin. And the tangy cream which is a condiment closely related to Mexican crema and French crème fraiche is their perfect complement. Use either shop-bought by all means but making it is more fun.