If you want extra crunchy, English-style roast potatoes, follow the recipe below. I receive a ton of photos from students and readers who have made these spuds as part of their Thanksgiving and Christmas menus – the highest praise for any recipe.
There are so many roast potato recipes knocking about but this technique gives the best combo of shattering crust and fluffy interior. The two secrets are to boil the potatoes until they almost collapse and then roast them for as long as you dare.
Don’t scrimp on the salt
There is, perhaps, mor salt than you’re used to in the water the potatoes boil in. But don’t worry – he majority of the salt will be thrown away and only a small amount will be absorbed by the potatoes. Having the salt in the cooking water means the inside of the potatoes absorb flavour so the finished product is so much better.
Choose the right tin for your roast potatoes
I prefer a shallow cookie sheet/baking sheet to a traditional roasting pan. I also prefer metal to ceramic or glass. You can buy the ones I use in the US or the UK. Using something shallow gives the air more chance to circulate and gives a dryer, more rustly potato.
Prep your roast potatoes ahead
At Christmas, I boil the potatoes the day before, leave them to cool and then add them to a hot tray of oil at stage 7. This just saves me some dish washing and pan space on the big day.
Roast potato ingredients (serves 4)
6-8 fist sized Maris Piper or Desiree potatoes (choose a russet in the US)
2 tablespoons rapeseed (canola) oil, olive oil, or you can use goose, duck or bacon fat
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons of Maldon sea salt flakes
To make the crunchiest roast potatoes:
- Put a large pan of water on to boil and add a big teaspoon of fine grain sea salt.
- Peel and chop each fist sized potato into 3 equal size chunks (for bigger potatoes, chop into 4, smaller potatoes into 2 etc).
- When the water is boiling, throw the potatoes in and cover with a lid. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan) or 400°F (420°F convection).
- After around 20 minutes of boiling (depending on size of your potatoes) test them with a knife. You want them to be totally cooked and soft – as if you were going to use them for mashed potatoes.
- Drain the potatoes well in a colander (if they are dripping water they will make the oil spit when you add them to the baking sheet). They will be crumbly so be gentle. But don’t fret if they do crumble, the crumbly bits are the ones that you’ll be fighting over at the end as they’ll be the crispiest. At this stage the cooked, drained potatoes can sit on a baking tray (without oil) for 24 hours in a cool place.
- Drizzle half the oil onto the baking sheet and place the potatoes on top. Then drizzle the rest of the oil over the potatoes. They should be almost coated with oil but don’t stress about it if they have any bare bits. Sprinkle them with the sea salt flakes and put them in the oven.
- Cook for around 60-80 minutes, turning them once after 45 mins. The longer they cook, the better. Often I’ll cook them for well over an hour to get them extra crispy. You know they’re ready when they are dry, golden and crisp and rustle dryly when you shake the tin. If you need to manage oven space or get ahead on timings, you can roast them for 40 minutes, take them out of the oven and leave them on the tray. Then put them back into the oven at the same temperature for the rest of the cooking time.
- I like to sprinkle the potatoes with a bit of white or red wine vinegar just before serving, because these are really just enormous chips after all.
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