Crispy roasted potatoes remind me of that casual yet sophisticatedly dressed man you get a quick glimpse of in a busy subway car during rush hour. There is method and madness behind his sartorial elegance. Despite the rolled jeans, unshaven face, and messy hair, his carefully chosen outfit just works for him. Even the shoes. These crispy roast potatoes are like him. They’re like these waffles.
Perfectly made roast potatoes are unparalleled. They are beautifully bronzed, as if they’d been on a beach-side vacation. And most importantly, they’re crisp-coated and fluffy-bellied.
When it comes to crispy roast potatoes, needs must be met. They must satisfy a hankering for thick (and crispy!) deeply golden wedges that conjure memories of autumn and winter roasts, and plates smudged with ketchup.
My crispy roasted potatoes recipe is an indispensable starting point. The method is quite basic, and you can flavor them as you’d like. It’s perfect for any lunch or dinner occasion, or your Sunday roast!
Anyway, it all starts off with a bit of fat, which is heated in a roasting pan in a preheating oven until it’s searing. I’ve used duck fat here, but I most often make it with sunflower oil or olive oil. Whether you’re using duck fat or goose fat, or simply a cooking oil with a high smoke point is up to you. Safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, peanut, canola, or olive oil– they should all work well here. Just avoid extra-virgin olive oil, which is best left for dressing salads.
Now I know, not everyone is accustomed to cooking with duck fat. It’s definitely an indulgent (and admittedly bourgeois ingredient), to say the least, and perfect for a holiday roast. Duck fat, like goose fat or chicken fat, is an ingredient that transforms anything it touches– especially potatoes–into a gilded masterpiece.
Duck fat provides unbeatable richness and savory flavor that can’t be recreated by butter or oil, or a combination thereof. It can be used to make the flakiest biscuits, the most incredible pie or tart dough, a fantastic fried egg, the most luxurious grilled cheese sandwich, and in this case– the most crispy roast potatoes you will ever have.
Heating up the duck fat whilst the oven is preheating allows for searing temperatures that will immediately crisp up the exterior of each potato as soon as it hits the pan. This is one of the crucial steps in creating unparalleled crispy roast potatoes.
While the fat is heating up, large potato wedges are put in some hot water with some salt, and allowed to boil for exactly five minutes (you’ll want to set your timer). Boiling the potatoes allows them to have unbelievably fluffy interiors after they’ve had their time in the oven.
Once they’ve been boiled, the potatoes are strained of any water and shaken about until their sharply cut edges are frilled. The frilled edges and bits of pulverized potato are what turn into a crisp coat on the roasted potatoes once they’re out of the oven.
The frilled potatoes are then dredged in a little bit of flour. This is where you can go ahead and season the flour with a bit of salt and pepper or use your favorite spice combination, or completely hold off until they’re out of the oven… Whatever floats your boat.
After the potatoes are dredged– this is where a bit of precaution should be taken– the pan of hot duck fat is removed from the oven and the potatoes are carefully tossed around in the liquid gold. The bubbling duck fat will hiss the moment the coated potatoes hit the pan, and they’ll get a bit of color; it’s a gloriously magical moment, but there’s more magic to come.
The pan is placed back into the hot oven. A couple times into roasting, the potatoes are casually tossed about, and they’re left to crisp until deeply golden– almost like toast that’s been left a couple seconds too long in the toaster.
Out of the oven, the roasted potatoes should be crisp and crackly on the outside, some with deeply caramelized edges, and the inside of each potato will be fluffy. All of these traits are the markings of fantastically crispy roast potatoes– one of mankind’s greatest creations, if you ask me. A little Maldon on top, and everything is complete.