Heston Blumenthal has a few tips for the perfect roast potatoes
Most people think they can absolutely nail roast potatoes. They have their method, a process they swear by.
The thing is, if all these homely claims were true, we wouldn’t have so many disappointing Sunday lunches, would we?
Listen, Keith, sure your beef joint was tender, and your Yorkshire puddings rose gallantly, but sorry, your roasties were 7/10.
And Linda, yes, your chicken was far from dry, but your potatoes fell short. Only a few were that perfect combination of soft and fluffy in the middle and golden and crispy on the outside.
What went wrong? How do you avoid pale and soft roast potatoes?
It’s in the parboiling. Most cooks know to boil before roasting. Season the pan, leave the spuds to cook, then throw them in a baking tray with fat, salt, pepper, maybe a sprig of rosemary and a couple of garlic cloves.
But there’s an issue of preparatory length, according to three Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal.
Heston advises leaving potatoes in to boil for 20 minutes before roasting. He also suggests putting the peelings in the cooking water to improve the flavour.
The reason for such intense softness is so that you ensure the potatoes scuff up as you drain them. You want them to crumble just a little, so that the fat covers a wider surface area and penetrates deeper.
If you really want that crispiness, score the potatoes with a fork. It creates ridges and grooves, a playground for golden, crispy goodness.
Heston also says that metal baking trays are best. Avoid glass or Pyrex. Metal is a better conductor, so the fat will get hotter faster, and that’s good news.
The Fat Duck legend doesn’t reveal his choice of fat. Obviously, most people believe the classic and traditional goose or duck fats are best, but perhaps not every week.
Butter, then? Olive oil or rapeseed? A combination of the two?