We stumbled across this “recipe” while researching...
the Sunday Roast, a traditional British meal served throughout the commonwealth countries. The Brits are serious about their “roasties,” and recipes for classic English-style roasted potatoes vary widely; this approach, adapted from a technique developed by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, applies modern science to an age-old recipe to achieve maximum crispness. Ambitious? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.
The secret lies in the addition of baking soda, which makes the water alkaline and helps break down the outer layer of the potato chunks into a starchy slurry. Basically, you end up with pillowy chunks of potato coated in a layer of mashed potatoes, which in turn hold onto infused fat and get nice and crispy in a hot oven. The result is ideal: fluffy insides with crispy outsides, made deeply savory thanks to a coating of flavor-infused olive oil.
What You'll Need
For the shopping list
- 4 pounds of Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into good size chunks (for a large Russet, think 6-8 pieces: cut in half crosswise, then quarter each half)
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 3 tablespoons rendered duck fat (to make vegetarian, omit the duck fat and double the olive oil)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- Small handful of fresh parsley leaves, minced
From the kitchen
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Large pot
- Fine strainer
- Small cast iron skillet
- Chef’s knife
- Fish Spatula
- Vegetable peeler
- Large mixing bowl
What you'll have to do
Set a rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 450º.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 2 tablespoons Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and the cut up potatoes. Return the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes).
Meanwhile, combine the 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons duck fat, garlic and rosemary with fresh ground pepper in a small skillet set over medium heat; cook, stirring and shaking the pan constantly until the garlic begins to turn golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Immediately strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl and set aside, reserving the bits of garlic, rosemary and pepper separately.
When the potatoes are done, drain and rest for 30 seconds, allowing excess moisture to evaporate. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the infused oil & duck fat mixture, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss vigorously until a layer of “mashed” potatoes covers all the potato chunks.
Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the oven; cook, without moving, for 20 minutes. Use a fish spatula (or other thing, metal spatula) to release any stuck potatoes, then shake the pan and turn the potato chunks. Return to the oven and roast until the potatoes are deep golden brown and crispy (about 40-50 minutes), turning and shaking the pan periodically to ensure even cooking.
Transfer to a clean mixing bowl and toss with the reserved garlic, pepper and rosemary mixture, season with flaky salt to taste, and serve immediately.