Best-ever roast potatoes
Want the best-ever roast potatoes?
Simple, delicious and deeply comforting the humble roast spud is a must-have in the cook’s bag of tricks. Here are a few of our favourite versions.
Words: Robin Powell
The Heston method
British chef Heston Blumenthal swears by this method. Rinse quartered potatoes under running water for five minutes to wash off the starch, then bring them to the boil in a pan of cold water with a smashed garlic clove and sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Simmer until very soft. Drain and leave to cool completely. Heat equal amounts of beef dripping and olive oil in the roasting pan then add the potatoes and garlic clove. Stir gently to coat, then roast for an hour at 180, gently turning every 20 minutes, then add the thyme and rosemary sprigs to the pan and cook another 20-30 minutes.
Potatoes and lemons
Heat a good dollop of olive oil in the roasting pan, then add pre-boiled, quartered potatoes and lemon quarters. Toss everything together to coat the potatoes in lemon juice and olive oil. Roast at 180-200, depending on how hot your oven is, for an hour, tossing once, till the potatoes are golden and crispy and the lemon is caramelised.
Cook whole potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes, then drain.Brush oil over a roasting tray, add the potatoes and smash them with a potato masher.If the potatoes are a bit too firm to collapse, slash them with a knife to create maximum surface area. Drizzle over olive oil, and sprinkle good salt, then roast for an hour or so at 180, until the tops are brown and crispy.
Use the right potato - starchy potatoes make the fluffiest, crispiest roast potatoes.Look for Coliban or Sebago; King Edward if you grow your own or know someone who does.
Quarter the potato - more sides equals more crispy bits - but the pieces need to be large enough for a contrast between crispy outside and fluffy inside.
Boil the potatoes in salted water before roasting. This fluffs up the outside, increasing the surface area and making crispier spuds. Toss them aggressively in the colander for extra fluffing and let them steam dry before adding to the roasting pan.
Try mixing oil with duck fat, goose fat, butter, or Heston’s favourite, beef dripping.
Don’t crowd the pan.
Toss once during cooking, about 40 minutes in.
Having roasted the world’s best-ever spuds don’t spoil them with harsh salt. Use a good one, like Murray River Pink Salt Flakes.