CRISPIEST POTATOES

THERE ARE MANY HOLY GRAILS IN COOKING -- FRIED CHICKEN, SCRAMBLED EGGS, RIB ROAST -- TO NAME A FEW.  I WOULD ADD CRISPY POTATOES TO THAT LIST.  CHUNKS OF POTATOES, FLUFFY ON THE INSIDE; CRUNCHY AND BROWN ON THE OUTSIDE.  I MAKE EXCELLENT ROASTED NEW POTATOES, CUT IN ROUGH CHUNKS AND OVEN-ROASTED IN DUCK FAT OR OLIVE OIL WITH THYME OR ROSEMARY AND FINISHED WITH CHOPPED GARLIC.  BUT  J. KENJI LOPEZ-ALT'S VERSION WAS MORE THAN A RECIPE.  IT WAS A CHALLENGE, A TAUNT, IF YOU WILL:  "THE CRISPIEST POTATOES EVER"!  KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT, WHOSE HIT COOKBOOK THE FOOD LAB, DOES NOT SIMPLY OFFER A SIMPLE SET OF INGREDIENTS AND DIRECTIONS.   EN ROUTE, YOU FIND OUT HOW HE GOT THERE -- THE TRIAL AND ERROR, THE CHOICE OF POTATOES, OVEN TEMPERATURE, AND QUANTITIES OF SALT, BAKING SODA AND GARLIC.  HIS IS A TWO-STAGE PROCESS.  YOU FIRST BOIL THE PEELED POTATOES, THEN FINISH THEM ON HIGH HEAT IN THE OVEN.  I ELIMINATED TOSSING THE BOILED POTATOES IN OLIVE OIL, GARLIC AND ROSEMARY, OPTING INSTEAD TO SIMPLY SCATTER THE CHOPPED GARLIC ON THEM JUST BEFORE SERVING.  BUT THAT IS THE ONLY THING I CHANGED.  ANY STARCHY POTATO WILL DO NICELY BUT NOTHING BEATS THE GERMAN BUTTERBALL POTATOES FROM WEISER FARMS.  

AuthorChef John

 4 lbs STARCHY POTATOES -- RUSSET, YUKON GOLD, BUTTERBALL
 ½ tsp BAKING SODA
 OLIVE OIL OR DUCK FAT
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 FRESH ROSEMARY OR THYME
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR ITALIAN PARSLEY
1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

BRING 2 QUARTS OF WATER TO A BOIL. ADD 2 TBSPS OF SEA SALT AND 1/2 TSP OF BAKING SODA.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE POTATOES AND CUT INTO 1-INCH CHUNKS.

ADD POTATOES TO THE POT. BRING BACK TO THE BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COOK FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SHARP KNIFE.

DRAIN IN A COLANDER AND PUT IN A BOWL . TOSS WITH 3 TBSPS OF DUCK OR OLIVE OIL.

SPREAD ON A BAKING SHEET. SALT LIGHTLY. ADD SEVERAL GRINDS OF PEPPER.

ROAST FOR ABOUT 45 MINUTES, SHAKING THE PAN FROM TIME TO TIME AND TOSSING WITH A SPATULA UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE AS BROWN AS YOU LIKE THEM.

MEANWHILE, TRIM, PEEL AND FINELY CHOP 6 CLOVES OF GARLIC. STRIP LEAVES FROM THE HERBS AND CHOP ROUGHLY.

REMOVE HOT POTATOES FROM THE OVEN. IMMEDIATELY SCATTER WITH GARLIC AND HERBS. SHAKE THE PAN. THE GARLIC SHOULD COOK JUST ENOUGH THE SMELL THEIR AROMA.

CHOP FRESH PARSLEY AND/OR CHIVES AND SCATTER ON TOP.

AuthorChef John
 4 lbs STARCHY POTATOES -- RUSSET, YUKON GOLD, BUTTERBALL
 ½ tsp BAKING SODA
 OLIVE OIL OR DUCK FAT
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 FRESH ROSEMARY OR THYME
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR ITALIAN PARSLEY
1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

BRING 2 QUARTS OF WATER TO A BOIL. ADD 2 TBSPS OF SEA SALT AND 1/2 TSP OF BAKING SODA.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE POTATOES AND CUT INTO 1-INCH CHUNKS.

ADD POTATOES TO THE POT. BRING BACK TO THE BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COOK FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SHARP KNIFE.

DRAIN IN A COLANDER AND PUT IN A BOWL . TOSS WITH 3 TBSPS OF DUCK OR OLIVE OIL.

SPREAD ON A BAKING SHEET. SALT LIGHTLY. ADD SEVERAL GRINDS OF PEPPER.

ROAST FOR ABOUT 45 MINUTES, SHAKING THE PAN FROM TIME TO TIME AND TOSSING WITH A SPATULA UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE AS BROWN AS YOU LIKE THEM.

MEANWHILE, TRIM, PEEL AND FINELY CHOP 6 CLOVES OF GARLIC. STRIP LEAVES FROM THE HERBS AND CHOP ROUGHLY.

REMOVE HOT POTATOES FROM THE OVEN. IMMEDIATELY SCATTER WITH GARLIC AND HERBS. SHAKE THE PAN. THE GARLIC SHOULD COOK JUST ENOUGH THE SMELL THEIR AROMA.

CHOP FRESH PARSLEY AND/OR CHIVES AND SCATTER ON TOP.

Ingredients

 4 lbs STARCHY POTATOES -- RUSSET, YUKON GOLD, BUTTERBALL
 ½ tsp BAKING SODA
 OLIVE OIL OR DUCK FAT
 6 GARLIC CLOVES
 FRESH ROSEMARY OR THYME
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR ITALIAN PARSLEY

Directions

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

BRING 2 QUARTS OF WATER TO A BOIL. ADD 2 TBSPS OF SEA SALT AND 1/2 TSP OF BAKING SODA.

MEANWHILE, PEEL THE POTATOES AND CUT INTO 1-INCH CHUNKS.

ADD POTATOES TO THE POT. BRING BACK TO THE BOIL, REDUCE TO A SIMMER. COOK FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SHARP KNIFE.

DRAIN IN A COLANDER AND PUT IN A BOWL . TOSS WITH 3 TBSPS OF DUCK OR OLIVE OIL.

SPREAD ON A BAKING SHEET. SALT LIGHTLY. ADD SEVERAL GRINDS OF PEPPER.

ROAST FOR ABOUT 45 MINUTES, SHAKING THE PAN FROM TIME TO TIME AND TOSSING WITH A SPATULA UNTIL THE POTATOES ARE AS BROWN AS YOU LIKE THEM.

MEANWHILE, TRIM, PEEL AND FINELY CHOP 6 CLOVES OF GARLIC. STRIP LEAVES FROM THE HERBS AND CHOP ROUGHLY.

REMOVE HOT POTATOES FROM THE OVEN. IMMEDIATELY SCATTER WITH GARLIC AND HERBS. SHAKE THE PAN. THE GARLIC SHOULD COOK JUST ENOUGH THE SMELL THEIR AROMA.

CHOP FRESH PARSLEY AND/OR CHIVES AND SCATTER ON TOP.

CRISPIEST POTATOES
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