Everybody loves roast potatoes, yet people ask over and over again for the secret of golden crispy roast potatoes.
Duck or goose fat adds delicious extra flavour to roast potatoes. Good quality pork fat or lard from free range pigs is also worth saving carefully for roast or sauté potatoes. All three fats will keep for months in a cold larder or fridge.
Well, first and foremost buy good quality ‘old’ potatoes eg. Golden Wonders, Kerrs Pinks or British Queens. New potatoes are not suitable for roasting.
For perfection peel them just before roasting. Do not leave them soaking in water or they will be soggy inside because of the water they absorb. This always applies, no matter how you cook potatoes. Unfortunately, many people have got into the habit of peeling and soaking potatoes even if they are just going to boil and mash them.
Dry potatoes carefully, be really pernickety otherwise they will stick to the roasting tin, and when you turn them over you will lose the crispy bit underneath. If you have a fan oven it is necessary to blanch and refresh the potatoes first, then proceed as below.
Heat the olive oil or fat in a roasting pan, toss the potatoes to make sure they are well coated in olive oil or fat. Roast in a hot oven (230ºC / 450ºF / Gas Mark 8), basting occasionally, for 30-60 minutes depending on size.
Here are three suggestions.
For perfection, potatoes should be similar in size and shape.
Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters if large. Blanch and refresh the potatoes, dry well. Scrape the surface with a fork, roll in seasoned flour (optional), then toss in extra virgin olive oil or fat and roast as above.
Scrub old potatoes well. Cut into wedges or thick slices. Dry well, toss in extra virgin olive oil or fat and roast as above.
Scrub, peel and dry the potatoes. Add 1 scant tablespoon curry powder or chilli powder, freshly ground cumin and coriander to 150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil. Toss the potatoes in just enough oil to coat (save the rest in a covered jar in the fudge for another time), season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook as above.