The Perfect Roast Potato
Our perfect roast spud has a crisp golden crust, perhaps with a random rosemary sprig baked into it and maybe a curl of papery garlic skin. Break through the crust and the interior is all softness and flavour. It’s like breaking into a crème brulé.
Roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic
A classic highly flavoured roast spud, to go with any roast meal.
Roast potatoes are a firm favourite and a permanent fixture on our weekly menu. They are always served with the spit roast lamb. We have taken to cooking the potatoes in the evening as the meat cooks in front of the fire rather than pre-cooking in the morning. Cooking the potatoes through in one go without ever letting them cool is the only way to get perfect texture: a crisp golden crust concealing a super fluffy soft interior. Duck is frequently on our weekly menu and we always try to save some of the fat for our roast potatoes. We also use olive oil for even more flavour. If we have vegetarians we stick to olive oil and butter.
Perfect Roast Potato – The Recipe
1.2 kilos of floury potatoes (if you are using French supermarkets go for the potatoes marked for either purée or frite)
6 or 7 cloves of garlic
1tsp of dried rosemary
Some sprigs of fresh rosemary
Duck fat or butter and olive oil
Lots of salt
(1) Cut the potatoes into roast potato sized chunks. I normally portion four per person with plenty of extras for second helpings.
(2) Boil in plenty of well salted water. The water should be about as salty as you want your potatoes to taste. For a large pan this may seem like an unfeasibly large amount of salt. If you are cooking a large amount you may need to stir occasionally as they come to the boil otherwise the potatoes at the bottom may overcook before the ones at the top are cooked. When the potatoes are just cooked through, (they need to hold their shape when you fry them, but be cooked enough to absorb all the flavours from the garlic and rosemary and whatever you end up frying them with) drain them into a large colander.
(3) Heat your fat or olive oil in the largest frying pan you have. When the oil is hot, sprinkle in the dried rosemary. It should immediately start to sizzle and release its flavour. Toss in the unpeeled garlic cloves and fresh rosemary and give them a quick stir. The garlic should flavour the fat without the rosemary burning. Now fill the frying pan with enough potatoes to just cover the base of the pan and toss them around in the pan until they are all thoroughly coated with the fat. When they are coated with, and have absorbed plenty of, the flavoured fat, fry them carefully until lightly coloured on all sides. Fry the potatoes in this way in batches until all are done.
(4) Place the potatoes in a roasting dish in which they can all fit in a single layer. Roast in the oven on gas mark five or more, for at least an hour. These are always served with roast lamb at The Barn. If you are roasting your lamb in the oven, put the potatoes in with the lamb, and then when the lamb comes out to rest, 20-30 minutes before serving, we tend to turn the temperature up a bit for a final crisping if needed.
Well Worth The Effort
For those of us with busy lives this might seem like fairly complex, and time- consuming way to produce a roast potato. The fact is, when you are doing a roast, such as our leg of lamb, you are in the kitchen anyway as it cooks, which takes around two hours. If you have done all the peeling and chopping earlier in the day it doesn’t take that long, and the final result is well worth the effort. We like to pick out the roast garlic cloves as squishy chefs perks.
Our perfect roast spud would have a crisp golden crust with a random rosemary sprig baked into it, maybe a curl of papery garlic skin. Break through the crust and the interior is all softness and flavour. It’s like breaking into a crème brulé.