For years I’ve wanted to get roasted potatoes like my mother-in-law’s, brown and crispy on the outside soft and smooth on the onside. I’ve come close but never quite got there. I used to love picking the real crunchy stuff off the sides of the pan. Then we went to my son’s for mother’s day and he made his roasted potatoes. Now they did not have the crunchy stuff on the pan but other than that they were perfect. I asked him to send me how and he said it was the preboil (10 minutes) with a little backing soda. He sent me the link. I’ve seen it before but the goose fat always through me off. So I decided to just use oil oil infused with some fresh rosemary and garlic. I discovered that J. Kenji López-Alt also mentioned, if I bothered to read it, that any oil or fat would work in fact it adds to the flavor.
These are the most flavorful crispy roast potatoes you’ll ever make. And they just happen to be
gluten-free and vegan (if you use oil) to boot.
I adjusted the amounts based on the ponds of potatoes, there is only two of us after all.
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
- 4 pounds (about 2kg) russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, sixths, or eighths, depending on size (see note)
- 5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, duck fat, goose fat, or beef fat (I used Olive Oil)
- Small handful picked rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Small handful fresh parsley leaves, minced
- Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F/230°C (or 400°F/200°C if using convection).
- Heat 2 quarts (2L) water in a large pot over high heat until boiling. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt (about 1 ounce; 25g), baking soda, and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.
- Meanwhile, combine olive oil, duck fat, or beef fat, my son used bacon fat, what’s that old saying, with rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl.
- Set strained garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.
- When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for about 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
- Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper, and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed potato–like paste has built up on the potato chunks.
- Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release any stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes.
- Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
- Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coat and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately. They tend to soften up if they sit for too long.
WHY IT WORKS
- Large chunks of potato maximize the contrast between exterior and interior.
- Parboiling the potatoes in alkaline water breaks down their surfaces, creating tons of starchy slurry for added surface area and crunch.
- Offering you the choice of oil, duck fat, goose fat, or beef fat means you can get whichever flavor you want.
- Infusing the oil or fat with garlic and herbs gives the potato crust extra flavor.