Cooktop Cove: 7 tips to follow so you can make tasty roast potatoes
Roasted potatoes are one of those dishes that seems so simple. Just chop up some potatoes, toss them in oil and then place them in a hot oven, right? Wrong! There are actually a lot of things that can go wrong when making roasted potatoes. They can turn out soft on the outside and hard on the inside. Or worse, they can become mushy and unappealing.
So how do you fix these things? By following the tips below. This method has been used in restaurant kitchens for years and is a guaranteed formula for roasted potatoes that are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Using these tips, every batch you'll cook from now on will be too.
1. Use russet potatoes
There are all kinds of potatoes. Red-skinned, Yukon Golds and russets to name a few. And it's only russets that should be used for roasting potatoes. Russet potatoes are the starchiest potatoes which means that they are also the fluffiest. And there's nothing better than biting into a roasted potato that's light and fluffy on the inside. So start with russets, and you'll be on the right track to getting the best roasted potatoes possible.
2. Peel and cut the potatoes
Many people keep the skin on roasting potatoes. And there's some good that comes with this. Potato skins can bring a lot of fiber to the table. But, are you really eating roasted potatoes to up your fiber intake? Or do you just want something comforting and delicious? If you're going to make truly perfect roasted potatoes, you need to peel them. And while you may think the skin is going to super crispy, the truth is it's only going to shrivel up; and it won't be as great as you think it will be.
After you peel the potatoes you need to cut them in half lengthwise. That gives more surface area, which means more crispiness. Don't cut them smaller than that, or they'll fall apart in the next step.
3. Parboil them
What? Aren't we making roasted potatoes and not boiled potatoes? Yes, we are. But all great roasted potatoes start off by getting parboiled. That's what makes them super soft on the inside.
To do it, place the halved potatoes in a large saucepan and cover them with water. You want all of the potatoes to be covered by at least an inch of water. Generously salt it, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil them for 10 - 15 minutes, just until they are fork-tender. Then drain.
4. "Chuff" them
So what's chuffing potatoes? It's a method where, after the potatoes are sitting in the colander, you toss them up and down a little bit in order to "chuff" the sides of them. This will roughen up the edges a little bit, and that will give you more surface area. That gives you more crispiness on the outside, which is what you're looking for.
5. Cool them slightly and add oil
You'll want to roast your potatoes in olive oil, not butter. But if you add olive oil to piping hot potatoes, those potatoes are going to absorb all of that oil which will make for greasy potatoes and not keep that oil right on the surface, where you want it. Because there it will make the exterior nice and crispy.
Instead, let the potatoes cool slightly, just to the point where they are no longer steaming inside the colander. Then go ahead and place them in a separate bowl, add olive oil and toss or stir to coat the potatoes.
Yes, you need to season your roasted potatoes with salt and pepper before they go into the oven. That may come naturally to you. But place other seasonings in that bowl when it's time to toss the potatoes. Peeled, smashed cloves of garlic and a few sage leaves work wonderfully. They add so much aroma and deliciousness to the dish that once you've tried it, it's hard to eat them without those great ingredients! And if you happen to be one of the lucky ones that gets a roasted garlic clove on your plate, rejoice!
7. Roast at a high heat
So it's time to put your potatoes in the oven and actually roast them. The hard part is over, right? Well, yes. All of the methods and techniques are done with at this point. But don't forget one of the most important tips - roast them in a piping hot oven! Usually anywhere between 400 and 425 degrees is perfect, depending on how hot your individual oven runs. You've gone to all that trouble to make sure that the inside of your potatoes are soft and fluffy, and you want to make sure the outside is crispy and delicious. You've taken some trouble to make sure of that up until this point too, so all you have to do now is roast them at a high heat to ensure it's super crispy.
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