Posted 10th November 2014 by Fong Chau
The perfect roast potato is a thing of beauty and is just as much the star of your Christmas dinner as roast turkey and Christmas pudding. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, comforting, rich with a hint of sweetness, they taste like coming home to a warm hug.
But how do you achieve the perfect balance between golden crunch and a soft middle? Tesco Real Food Editor Fong Chau spoke to some eminent foodies to find out the secrets of getting the perfect roastie to enjoy on Christmas day.
1. Not all oils are created equally
Paul Wedgewood, chef at Wedgewood The Restaurant in the Edinburgh, says to use a mix of “70 per cent goose fat and 30 per cent vegetable oil” for roasting. He says the goose fat “imparts a wonderful luxurious flavour to the roast potatoes and adding a bit of oil helps make the potatoes extra crispy at high temperatures”. And that’s not the only reason goose fat is a popular choice for roast potatoes, Paul explains: “With its high flash point goose fat is excellent for crisping the potato.” Having a high flash point means the oil can get really hot without burning or the flavour spoiling. If you’re looking for a vegetarian alternative, you can substitute goose fat with groundnut oil.
2. Hail to the King
Paul also recommends the King Edward as his potato of choice, saying they make the best roast potatoes. “I believe they make the crispiest potato, are fluffiest in the middle and take on just the right amount of flavour from the cooking fat,” he says. The King Edward potato is a medium-starch potato, which means they hold their shape when they’re cooked but still get fluffy on the inside. Another great medium-starch potato for roasting is the desiree.
3. Rough and ready
We took to Twitter to ask our followers what tips they wanted to share and got tonnes of great responses. One of our followers @NYCDeb shared this great tip with us, “After parboiling the potatoes, put them in the fridge to dry out & cool before roasting. Makes SUPER crunchy outside & fluffy inside.” The dry outside is important for getting that crispiness. Another Tesco Food tweeter, @Reberoodle had an ingenious way to get that crispy skin: “Parboil, then score all over with a fork before roasting - more surface area = more crispiness.”
4. Give it a flavour spin
While roast potatoes taste delicious on their own, there are some amazing flavours you can add to complement them. On Twitter Tesco Food follower @Samantha_Duff recommended adding “piles of garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, olive oil” to your tatties. Sounds delicious. You could even try these Roast potatoes with Parmesan, for a tasty twist.
Paul has a few of his own tricks for making the roasties stand out, too. He says, “Many flavours work with roast potatoes but my favourite would be some garlic, oregano, smoked salt, white pepper and, for that extra touch of extravagance, a dusting of turmeric to give a wonderful colour.”
5. Some like it hot
My personal tip? To get that satisfying crunch, put your fat or oil of choice into a roasting dish and pop it in the oven at a high heat until sizzling hot. Then add the parboiled potatoes and make sure each one is coated before putting them back in the oven to roast.
Do you have any roast potato secrets you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.