“Frayed” potatoes

“Frayed” potatoes

Not “fried” potatoes. Frayed potatoes.

There are a few important techniques for making terrific crispy roasted potatoes with lots of crunchy bits. It’s something that even popular family-style restaurants fail at — even when they are not using a processed frozen product that doesn’t require much cooking effort and is often a ghastly result that insults the real thing.

People will say only certain kinds of potatoes are good for high-temperature roasting but many different varieties can work. The first thing is to peel and cut your potatoes into pieces that are the same size so that they cook evenly. Next, soak the potatoes in cold water and change the water several times to remove some starch. Dry them and then boil them in lots of water until cooked through. All the way through. This is not parboiling: you’re cooking the spuds until done.

Drain and let them cool a bit before gently jostling them around in the pot to crack them a bit and make jagged edges. That’s why I called them “frayed.”

Next, coat them in fat. My favourite is duck fat, but I have used canola oil or a blend of vegetable oil, a bit of olive oil and butter successfully. Give them a good dosing of the fat of your choice oil and then season well with salt and pepper.

Have your oven and a big black cast-iron pan pre-heated to 450-degrees. Add your potatoes to the pan (careful with splattering oil) and get them back in the hot oven quickly before you lose too much heat. Turn the oven down to 375-degrees (depending on how hot your oven is) and don’t move them! Don’t open the door and let the heat out; just let them sit there.

After 30 minutes or so, turn the potatoes and get them back into the oven for another 30 minutes. It’s entirely up to you how long you cook them: to either just crispy or completely golden brown, which is my favourite way.

Inside your roasted potatoes, and depending on the type of potato, you could have almost creamy mashed potatoes enveloped in a crunchy, golden crust that is like a really good French fry. Done right, they are heaven.

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