Rustic Roast Potatoes
From Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook.
Everybody loves roast potatoes, yet people ask over and over again for the secret of golden crispy roast potatoes. Duck or goose fat gives a delicious flavor to roast potatoes. Good-quality pork fat or lard from free-range pigs is also worth saving carefully for roast or sauté potatoes. All three fats will keep for months in a cold larder or fridge. Good chicken fat and olive oil are also good for browning roast potatoes.
Buy good quality "floury" potatoes such as russets. Waxy potatoes are not very good for roasting. Cut the potatoes into similar sizes. For perfection, peel them just before roasting. Do not leave them soaking in water or they will be soggy inside because of the water they absorb. This always applies, no matter how you cook potatoes. Unfortunately, many people have got into the habit of peeling and soaking potatoes even if they are just going to boil and mash them.
Dry the potatoes carefully, otherwise they will stick to the roasting pan, and when you turn them over you will lose the crispy bit underneath. If you have a fan [convection] oven, it is best to blanch and refresh the potatoes first, then proceed as below.
10 large potatoes
olive oil or duck or goose fat or beef dripping (unless for vegetarians)
sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Scrub the potatoes well, cut them into quarters lengthwise or cut into thick rounds 3/4 inches (2 cm) approximately. Put into a roasting pan, drizzle them with olive oil, and toss so they are barely coated. Roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes depending on size. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
Yield: Serves 10 to 12