There are two things in this world that I am 100% certain of. The first is that ‘Africa’ by Toto is the best song ever to hear on a night out. And the second is that this recipe will give you the crunchiest roast potato. Fact.
In this world some people want babies and some people don’t. Some people want marriage and some people don’t. Some people want to travel and some people don’t. But speaking to people I know, it feels that nobody is in doubt with what they want from a roast potato.
They want it as crunchy as possible on the outside and as fluffy as possible on the inside.
Well when I was messing about in my Kitchen one Sunday, I fancied some roast potatoes with my meal and I didn’t have my usual semolina, which I usually use to get my roast potato crunch. But what I did have, was cornmeal.
Yes, cornmeal. Ground from dried maize to create a sweet, nutty tasting flour – I have now discovered that this is the key to amazing roast potatoes and has now not only cemented it as the roast potato addition of choice for Christmas this year, but moving forward, will be the measure of all roast potatoes in the future.
I’ve also thrown in an extra tip for you which is to make your own crisps out of the washer and peeled potato skins. That means you use 100% of the potato and there is no waste! I tend to give these little crisps to my dog but they’re a perfect treat dipped in some mayo or hot sauce.
There are few things that I cook that I would go to war for, defending it as the best thing you’d ever taste. I would go to war for these.
Preheat the oven to 200c and fill a big pan with water.
Wash a bunch of potatoes, I went for red skin roosters. Start peeling the potatoes and with each potato you peel, halve them and then cut each half into threes. The more angular your corners, the more they’ll catch and the crispier they’ll be. Pop each one in the pan of water.
Put your peelings on a clean tea towel, flip the towel over so that the peelings are covered with the cloth and leave them.
Ruffle the potatoes around in the water pan to get the starch off, drain the water (careful the potatoes don’t fall in the sink, god damn it) and refill the pot with water. Chuck the pan on the hob and bring it to a boil.
Keep it boiling for 7 minutes and while it bubbles, press down on the cloth of potato skins so that the cloth absorbs any moisture. Drop the dried skins on a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with salt for later.
Once the potatoes have bubbled for 7 minutes, drain them. Leave them in the colander to steam and dry a little. While they steam and dry, put a dab of butter and some vegetable oil in a deep pan and shove in the oven.
After the potatoes have steamed (let’s say 5 mins or so) scatter over about 2 or 3 tablespoons of cornmeal, a teaspoon of baking powder and a good scattering of salt. Rough them up in the colander so that they scruff up on the edges. This is what is going to help the potatoes catch and crisp.
Pull the roasting pan of butter and oil out of the oven and put it on a hob on a low heat just to keep the oil hot. Carefully throw in a few branches of rosemary. If they sizzle, the oil is ready.
Carefully empty the cornmeal potatoes into the hot oil (carefully!) and push around with a spoon or spatula so that the potatoes are all coated in the buttery oil. Slip into the oven for 50 minutes.
At the same time, shove the potato skins in too. After 30 minutes, the skins would have crisped up into lush little snacks, so pull them out of the oven and put to one side for later.
At this time, also pull out the potatoes and carefully stir everything so that the potatoes are flipped over and can cook evenly all over. Pop these back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
After the 20 mins, crank the heat up as far as it’ll go and leave them cook for another 10 or 15 mins and they will crisp up beautifully.
Take out of the oven. Serve them hot so that the crunch is retained and that fluffy pillowyness is still a dream.
Get ready for war. You will back these up just as much as I do once you’ve had them, I promise. Unlike babies, marriage and travelling – this will be a universal HELL YES.
Waffle’s treats and no waste!!
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