Potatoes are one of the world’s oldest crops and one of the first in human history to be cultivated. Since its early cultivation in modern-day Peru, it has become an essential staple crop around the world and only has a small number of minerals and nutrients keeping them from being fully sustainable.
A popping side dish is key to finding a perfect meal together, and roasting potatoes is certainly one of the most wholesome and delicious ways to do that. Thankfully there is more than one way to roast a potato, hell there are more than 50 ways to roast potatoes, and these are my favorite three.
The best potatoes to roast with
Essentially what affects the outcome of your roasted potatoes is the amount of starch a particular breed of potato has. Starchy potatoes have larger cells and therefore tend to break down less easily. Starch also has the tendency to absorb a lot of water which also contributes a lot to fluffiness and texture.
As a general rule of thumb; if you roast, fry, or mash your potatoes go for starchier variations like russet potatoes, golden Yukon, or Idaho potatoes. Waxy potatoes like Charlotte potatoes, Maris Peer, and Jersey Royals are better for boiling, in salads, and things like Au Gratin.
Easy Roast Potatoes
There’s never anything wrong with letting the modest potato speak for itself and there is no better way than simply browning them and throwing them into the oven. There are also endless ways to deliver amazing flavor to this recipe. Right before starting this recipe preheat the oven to 390°F.
Peel and quarter the potatoes you’re using and drop them into a cold water bath to keep them from going brown. If you’re using baby potatoes I wouldn’t bother with the hassle of peeling unless you have something against the skin. The skin of the potato, as is the case with most fruits and vegetables, is the most nutritious.
After you’ve prepped the potatoes place a large, deep baking pan onto the stove and turn it on high heat. Pour some olive oil into the baking dish and let that come up to heat. Dry the potato quarters lightly by folding them up into a clean dish towel and giving them a shake.
Before giving the potatoes some color is where you get the opportunity to impart some delicious flavor using anything you can think of. Typically you’d do this by infusing the oil you use to sear the potatoes. Drop some fresh herbs, garlic, whole spices, and other aromatic ingredients you like to the baking tray just before adding and searing the potatoes.
When the olive oil in the pan has come up to heat, lay the potatoes in one at a time, season with some salt, then brown them on all sides. Place the whole baking tray into the oven and bake the potatoes for 20-25 minutes or until they’re soft. Halfway through cooking the potatoes shake in a piece of butter for an extra dimension of flavor and texture.
Frying in Lard
While it isn’t exactly roasting, I consider shallow frying in an oven close enough, and it’s probably my favorite way to roast potatoes in the world. This method is very popular across Europe, particularly in the UK where they’re served with a roast dinner no matter what the occasion.
Place a block of lard into a large skillet or baking tray, place it into the oven, then preheat your oven to 400°F before peeling and quartering a couple of pounds of starchy potatoes.
Drop the potato quarters into salted boiling water and boil the potatoes for 7-8 minutes until just the outside are softened up. Drain the potatoes in a colander and give them a really good shake in there so that the outside of the quarters fluff up. In a separate small bowl combine a couple of tablespoons of plain flour, some salt, and some pepper then durst them over the potatoes and give them a shake to evenly distribute the flour.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and lay the flour-coated potatoes into the melted lard. Roll the potatoes arou8nd in the lard to coat them in it, then place the skillet back into the oven and shallow fry them for 15-20 minutes before taking them back out, turning them, and baking again until they’re beautifully golden brown.
Twice-baked potatoes are the most party-ready and exciting ways to bake a humble potato into something that anyone will absolutely love.
Start by puncturing small holes into the outside of russet potatoes using a fork or a wooden skewer or something similar then coat them in some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then wrapping them individually in foil and baking them till they soft in an oven preheated to 400°F.
Once you can easily insert a skewer into the potato, remove them from the oven and let them cool before unwrapping them and cutting them in half lengthwise. Use a dessert spoon to scoop the flesh out of the potato skin being careful not to break them.
Place the potato flesh into a mixing bowl then add some sour cream, pieces of crispy bacon, grated cheese, and any seasoning as needed. Mix and mash the contents until it forms a rough paste then scoop it back into the potato skins.
Place the loaded skins onto a baking tray and top with freshly grated cheese and place back into the oven to bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts to your liking.