Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.
I didn’t get home from work the other night craving a full dinner; I arrived at my house with cartoon visions of potatoes in my head, and knew I had to make it happen.
I wasn’t looking for a fast food french fry, even a good one. I wanted chunks of potato that were soft on the inside but crunchy on the outside, salty and piping hot.
These perfect potatoes often elude me. You know, like when you order home fries as your breakfast side and they’re never quite as hot or as crispy as you think they’re going to be, prompting deep regret that you didn’t go with the cheese grits or even the dang fruit cup.
I found a recipe on Pinterest that was so simple I wondered whether it would work. Hadn’t I cooked plenty of potatoes like this before?
Essentially, it called for roasting them. But with a couple added tricks that amounted to the best potatoes I’ve ever cooked.
First, hot oil. You add oil (I used a canola-olive oil blend; canola is important because it is relatively tasteless and it has a high smoke point, meaning it can get really hot) to a baking sheet and heat that up in the oven before you add the potatoes. It sort of fries the potatoes as they also roast. Genius.
Also, you par-boil the potatoes first, which is good advice any time you roast potatoes, unless you’re cutting them into very thin strips. I normally microwave mine in a bowl with some water to get them slightly softened. This recipe calls for boiling them in a pot, and this is crucial, because it leads to the next step, the most important step of all.
Shake your pot! After boiling the potatoes so they’re somewhat soft, you cover the pot with a lid and shake it, roughing up the edges of the potatoes. I am not 100 percent sure why, but this does something to the potatoes that allows for even more crispiness, even more perfect texture.
These potatoes would make a great side dish to your holiday spreads this month. They stayed hot longer than I expected, and were plain enough to pair nicely with a more exciting main course, but still special in their own right, perfectly cooked and seasoned as they are.
If you don’t have fresh rosemary, just use salt and pepper, seasoning them as they go in the oven and then lightly again when they come out. (Also, I transferred my potatoes to a paper towel right after they came out of the oven, to let some of that oil drain off.)
My husband and I nearly polished off all of the potatoes that evening, but I did manage to stash a handful in the fridge for leftovers.
They were perfect for breakfast the next morning.
Crispy Roasted Potatoes
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Add 1/3 cup canola oil to a large baking tray, then place in the pre-heated oven to heat the oil.
Fill a large pot halfway with water, add a generous pinch of salt, then add the potatoes and place over high heat. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and cook until potatoes are just slightly softened. This took about 10 minutes after the water started boiling.
Drain potatoes then return them to the pot. Cover with a lid, then shake the pot a couple of times.
Carefully add the potatoes to the hot oil on the baking sheet, and season with a sprinkling of sea salt and the rosemary. Save a pinch of rosemary for serving.
Roast potatoes for about 30 minutes or until they are totally soft on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. You can go up to about 45 minutes; as long as they aren’t starting to turn dark brown and burn, there’s really no reason to not keep them in the oven as long as you can. They’ll only get crispier.
Serves 2 to 4.
Source: Adapted from whatkatieate.com.