Move over roast potatoes there’s a new crispy spud in town. Taking half the time of a traditional roast potato, and with none of the par-boiling, scoring, tossing in fat, or pan-hopping business to contend with, the fondant potato is, to my mind, a superior way to achieve a crispy potato, albeit of course, not the healthiest option.
Coming from England, and with at least a 25% Irish lineage, potatoes were the mainstay of my childhood diet. Whether baked, mashed, roasted or boiled they turned up in most meals, and always with a happy reception.
It was always at the weekend, though, when Dad was in charge of the kitchen, that roasters would appear on the dining table. My brother and I would heap the crispy quarters onto our plates with eyes bigger than our bellies, always believing we could eat at least four, and invariably being made to put two back in substitution for ‘real’ vegetables. Hindsight, and adulthood, tell me we were most likely denied our umpteenth potato because Dad wanted a couple of cold ones later with a sliver of butter – he was, however, unavailable for comment on this…
Despite all of this I have never had the patience to master a good roast spud. I should, perhaps, be ashamed of myself considering my familial heritage, but I am not. This fondant potato recipe, while not remotely traditional, far outdoes the good old roaster. The hint of herb and garlic that infuses the potatoes via the heart-clogging amount of clarified butter is simply outrageously delicious and plenty crispy. If you haven’t tried them I implore you to do so, you won’t regret it – well maybe you will – I’m reliably informed that a minimum 5km run is the required ‘burning off’ distance for a serving of these!
Serves: 1 potato per person
Prep time: 25-35 minutes
4-5 large potatoes – waxy ones like a Desiree/Charlotte are best
2 cloves crushed garlic
4 sage leaves
Peel potatoes and chop them into 1.5cm rounds – your potatoes need flat surfaces on both sides. Place them flat, with no overlaps, into a heavy-based frying pan and cover them with cold water so their tops are just poking out of the top.
Place the crushed garlic, sage, salt and pepper, and ghee on top of the potatoes and bring to the boil over a high heat until the water has evaporated leaving the potatoes sizzling in the butter. At this point you want to carefully turn the potatoes over – use a wide flat knife or egg flipper – ensuring you don’t break off the crispy bottom and leave it in the pan.
Cook the flipped potatoes until this side is crispy and golden too and serve immediately.
Any hardy herbs – rosemary, thyme etc.
Smoked paprika would be a delicious Spanish style addition
Perfect accompaniment for your next roast