IS THERE anything better than a golden brown, crispy roast potato?
My mum made the best roast spuds, usually cooked with the Sunday roast lamb in lashings of dripping; not the healthiest of side dishes, but oh so good.
Fast-forward a few decades. We know now that saturated animal fat is something best eaten in very small quantities. But there's no need to forgo the delights of the crispy potato.
First, make sure you use a floury potato for the roast. Coliban, sebago, Dutch cream, desiree or pontiacs are the best choice. Then parboil them; this ensures the interior is properly cooked through and remains fluffy.
If you keep the skin on the spuds you will get extra dietary fibre, always a good idea.
Finally, use a mono-unsaturated vegetable oil, such as olive or macadamia, to crisp up the potatoes and finish with aromatic fresh herbs (rosemary and sage work particularly well). Reduce the salt to a mere sprinkle, and you have turned a heart-stopper into a reasonably healthy side dish.
Crispy roast potatoes
INGREDIENTS: 6-8 floury potatoes
½ cup olive oil
garlic cloves or diced Spanish onion (optional)
leaves from 3-4 fresh rosemary or sage sprigs
sea salt, to taste
METHOD: Wash dirty potatoes, scrubbing with a brush or scourer if necessary; leave skins on.
Depending on the size, halve or cut into large chunks, about the size of a golf ball.
Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water; put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
Drain, turn heat off and return pan to the hotplate to dry potatoes out for a few minutes.
While potatoes are simmering, preheat oven to 220°C.
Pour half the oil into a baking dish and place in hot oven. Heat for five minutes then remove.
Place potatoes in hot oil, turning with tongs to coat.
Add garlic cloves or diced onion, if using. Cook for 30 minutes at 220°C.
Turn potatoes and drizzle with remaining oil; return to oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Turn potatoes again and sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt and cook for a further 10 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.
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