Monday, 21 June 2010

the perfect roast potato

in which Belleau Kitchen challenges Cocina de Lina to a roast-off! Others may join in at their peril!

So, first let me start by saying that, as far as I am concerned, goose fat is out of the window... I live with The Big V (V stands for both Vegetarian and Viking... depending on my mood) and i'm simply not prepared to make double batches of roasties and anyway my method has never failed to come up with that ideal crispy and golden on the outside and white a fluffy on the inside... yet.

Clearly we cannot taste each others roasties so this challenge is more about discovering other peoples methods for making the perfect roast potatoes... and remember; your idea of perfect may be very different from mine... there are no rules here.

To begin, let's chose a potato... Heston would chose The Maris Piper, Delia would go for Desiree, my mum always goes for something with a red skin.

Today I've found some red-skinned Lincolnshire potatoes.  Rather generic sounding I agree but un-washed and in the paper bag they look like they'll do the trick!

Next, I line my shallow roasting tin with foil and drizzle a thin layer of vegetable oil into it and place it on the top shelf of my hot oven...

(a note on vegetable oil... please try and use a specified oil...rapeseed, sunflower etc... there is a massive worldwide problem with palm oil which is used in almost everything from margarine to soap and you need to make sure of the ingredients in your products... huge swathes of rain-forests are cut down every year for palm oil plantations and they are bad... if it doesn't specify the name of the oil, then don't buy it... palm oil is usually listed as just 'vegetable oil')

Now, fill a large pan with water, chuck in a pinch of salt and bring it to the boil.

Peel and cut the potatoes.  I like large roasties, so, depending on size of the original i usually cut mine into 3rds.

Boil the potatoes until just before soft (really depends on size)... you don't want them to collapse.  My grandma used to time this so that they were just about to fall apart and then lower each one gently into the roasting pan!

Next,  I drain the water from the potatoes but leave them in the pan and add a glugg or two of extra virgin olive oil, plenty of salt and pepper and a handful of fresh rosemary, then I place the lid back on the pan and violently shake the potatoes to fluff up the flesh.

Then, they go into the hot oil in the roasting pan and into a very hot oven until golden and crispy.

Pretty nice roasties... very happy with these today.

So now over to you guys... I guess... make your own, with your own recipe / method and then post a link here...!

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. Ha ha ha! Watch this space....although I have to say I do make mine pretty much the same way as you make yours- including the veg oil, a hangover from when I was veggie for over 18 years (it was a beef steak that got me in the end), and am totally with you on the palm oil thing. (Maybe we'll have to settle for a draw). Yours look *very* good btw.

    from Emmalene (Cocina de Lina)

  2. Oh let's face it Em, this is just an excuse to make roast potatoes and photograph them! maybe if we get the ball rolling large enough we'll all have to hook up somewhere fabulous and do a proper cook-off!

  3. oh rats you two - I'm off to the Dordogne tomorrow for a week and its 85 degrees in Cornwall today, so I can't join the roastie cook off, but I'm with you in spirit and I too favour the redskin...Enjoy they look great!

    feastsandfestivals is celebrating St John's Eve whilst I'm away..

    (and too right about palm oil)

  4. que buenas patatas!me encantan!aqui en galicia tenemos la suerte de tener muy buena calidad de patatas!un besito

  5. Mr Ball has the most wonderful recipe - which he told me and my sister Shari involved him rubbing the par boiled, olive oil sprinkled tatties all over his naked body before sticking in a baking hot oven. My sister was incredulously wide-eyed with approval. I think he was kidding us though?

  6. It was love a first sight. You have a wonderful blog and I'm so glad you led me to it. Your recipes are great and the over-all tone of your blog is quite welcoming. I'll be back. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. Thanks all for your lovely comments..

    Tanya.. I hope he was kidding but based on the state of him at the weekend... who know?

    Mary... very sweet words of encouragement are always welcome. I love your blog too... so there you go.


    Liz... I'm off to Majorca tomorrow for a week, so I got my roasties in before that and then I'm having a well deserved week off (although I will be taking my camera with me... watch this space


  8. Dominic- Enjoy Mallorca. Which part are you visiting? If it's Palma, visit Sharon and Ventura's cafetería and try the best mushroom soup ever!

  9. I've just discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading various posts. I love roast potatoes, but never think to have them unless doing a roast, which as a vegetarian is not something I do very often. But these look so delicious, I now want some for breakfast! Just voted for you on Dorset Cereals

  10. Thanks for the kind words choclette... may I say that you NEVER need an excuse not to cook and eat roast potatoes... x

  11. What fun! A new blog to check in on ... how can your roasties be improved upon, I wonder!

    Perhaps ... kick out the rosemary and add cayenne pepper and a seasoned salt for a spicy version!

  12. Well, this kind of "my thing". Here's what I think makes a perfect roast potato.

    For me, Maris Piper wins every time. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks but keep the peelings. These will return a lot of earthy flavour back into the potato. Wrap the peelings in a muslin cloth (or new, clean dishcloth) with a bay leaf and bind at the top. Pop this into very salted boiling water with the potatoes cut into rough chunks. Keep them boiling until very tender - like, nearly falling apart. Leave to drain, and allow them to steam to lose a lot of moisture. Discard the peel.

    While this is going on get the oven preheated to around 200C. A few minutes before the potatoes are ready from boiling and steaming get some fat in a baking dish - for me a blend of pork and duck fat is perfect. Make sure the fat is smoking before adding the potatoes to it. They will spit, so be careful. Give them a little toss in the pan and roast for 30 minutes.

    After 30 minutes add a few sprigs of rosemary, a bashed garlic and plenty of salt and pepper, tossing the spuds well. Then, take a potato masher and *lightly* press on them to open up the edges. More edges, more crisp. Add a dash of red wine vinegar for a savoury edge. Roast for a further 15-30 minutes.

    Check for seasoning, and serve whilst bouncing up and down with glee.

    For more ridiculous potato recipes, visit my blog:


  13. wow Gary... now that's commitment to the roast potato... I may just have to try it! Thanks

  14. I could eat the whole dish of these roasties -they look divine! This is my first visit to your blog via Brownievillegirl - I cannot believe I haven't been here before! Love your blog, I am following so I don't miss anything. Love Lucie x

  15. Thanks Lucie, always lovely to have more friends! ... oh and why don't you join in the roast off!

  16. I am the biggest fan of roasted potatoes...not those wimpy deep fried fakes you get at restaurants on a sunday,but the GOLDEN crispy fluffy ones,they are like heaven,

    my mom has always just peeled her potatoes,and placed them in raw with whatever she is roasting!for the last half hour she removes them put them on a tray and they crisp up,but whats amazing is,they are like fondant potatoes inside with a gorgeous chewy base and a crunch on the sides!
    texture overload!

    i just found your blog through,brownieville girl! im adding you to my faves!! :D

    I may have to send in a recipe for my perfect roasties too!

  17. Thanks and welcome Bigarade... we'd LOVE to see your roasties recipe posted here... and don't forget to check out Emmalines at Cocina de Lina.... x


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