Hands up if you love roast potatoes?
For those of you who are already keen cooks (and may even be famous for your deliciously crispy roast potatoes), here’s fair warning: this post may not be for you.
But for those of you who have never dipped your toes in the vast sea of roast potato-dom (or may have given them a go, but were never happy with the results), then read on because I’m about to let you in on the secret to perfect spuds.
You see, I was practically raised on roast potatoes. Every Sunday, without fail, our family sits down to a Sunday roast which always includes piles and piles of the dreamiest roasties you could ever have.
In *cough cough* 30 years, that’s approximately 1560 Sunday lunches, which adds up to a whole lot of experience with the humble potato. I can eat about 3 (but honestly probably more like 5) at any given time. That’s somewhere in the region of 7,800 roast potatoes consumed in my lifetime.
Suffice to say, I know a good roast potato when I see it.
And as the saying goes, we should always be aiming to pay it forward. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt over the years about making the perfect roastie.
There are as many ways to roast a potato as there are to skin a cat. Ewww what a gross saying. Apologies, I promise no cats were hurt in the making of this post.
You can get fancy and use goose fat, ghee, or lard, as well as adding in extras like polenta. But in our family there are no gimmicks, it’s just three plain and simple ingredients.
Easy like Sunday morning.
I promise these work every time. They’re crispy and crunchy on the outside, but still light and fluffy in the middle.
In terms of amounts of potatoes, it kind of depends on what else you’re serving and who you’re cooking for. A medium sized potato can be cut into 4 nice sized roasties, and that will probably do me. My boyfriend can easily eat 1 1/2 whole potatoes, or 2 if he’s allowed. Whereas my granny will be good with 1/2 a potato, so it really depends on what’s best for you!
But I would always suggest slightly over-catering, as it’s awful to not have enough to go around…and it doesn’t make you feel like a hostess with the mostess. Plus, cold roast potatoes are completely divine for fridge foraging later on in the evening.
In terms of what potatoes to use, that’s a question that kingdoms have been fought over (maybe!). I personally think that Desiree, King Edward, and Maris Piper work the best.
So without further ado here’s how to make the spuds of your dreams:
- Vegetable / sunflower oil
- Maldon sea salt
- Peel your potatoes.
- Chop them into either thirds or quarters - I personally prefer them a bit smaller rather than those large ones you can sometimes come across.
- As soon as they are peeled and chopped, pop them into a pan of cold water. This stops them browning and turning that alarming shade of grey. You can do this well in advance - like the night before, or the morning you want them, which I always find reassuring.
- Preheat the oven to 190C
- Boil the potatoes for about 7 minutes. You are par boiling them - not cooking them. So they won't be soft all the way through, but they will be on their way.
- Drain in a colander and leave them steaming there for 30 seconds or so. Then give the colander a good shake, so that the potatoes get a bit ruffed up. You will panic that you've ruined them....you haven't. You are simply ensuring there is more delicious uneven surface to go even crisper.
- Tip the potatoes into a baking tray and add approx. 3 tablespoons sunflower oil / vegetable oil. Give it a good toss about and then sprinkle in a liberal amount of Maldon sea salt - not table salt - it won't have the same effect.
- Roast for 30 minutes without disturbing them. Then use a spatula to unstick any that are stuck and give them a good stir. Back in the oven for another 40 minutes of so until they are browned to your liking.
- Once ready, tip into a bowl with some kitchen paper to mop up any extra grease and remove the paper towel before serving.