Crispy Roast Potatoes

Serves: 4

Truth is, I am not that enamoured by roast potatoes.

Which puts me in the minority because so often I hear from people just how much they love roast potatoes: also, that they are a treat?

It could be because I had them so often at boarding school, though what is amazing about a dry piece of roasted potato?

Mash with cream and Parmesan. Of course.

Colcannon. Most definitely.

Hasselbacks. Any day.

So there we are a few months back and Nat proposes a Sunday night roast. With roast potatoes.

“Sounds great” I gulp. “Can’t wait.”

Though Nat being Nat, she does her research. Plain old boarding school roast potatoes these will not be.

If you’re into your cooking, you have possibly come across the website Serious Eats. It’s a great site and a great service, where they take different recipes, pull them apart and rebuild them – using science – to create the very best version of that recipe.

It’s very cool.

And so here is… as they put it… “The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe”.

And to their credit and Nat’s, these are the best I have ever eaten.

Cook them and tell me they’re not.

(The recipe specifically asks for two types of American potatoes that we cannot get in Australia. Through reading etc, the potatoes to use here in Australia are Dutch Cream, Desiree, Coliban or Sebago.)

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2kg potato (see note above), peeled and cut into large, 5cm chunks
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or duck fat
Small handful picked rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful fresh Italian parsley leaves, minced

Method

  1. Adjust the oven rack to be centred and heat oven to 230c.
  2. Heat 2 litres of water in a large pot over a high heat until boiling. Add 2 tbsp salt, baking soda and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil and then simmer until knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk: about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.
  3. Combine the olive oil (or duck fat) with rosemary, garlic and a few grinds of pepper in a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden: about 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed “potato-like” paste has built up on the chunks.
  6. Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release and stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes.
  7. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking: around 30 – 40 minutes.
  8. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add the garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coast and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Abbacchio Alla Romana (Roman Roast Lamb)

Serves: 4

A leg of lamb together with anchovies was a revelation to me quite some years ago when I cooked a Matt Evans dish where the lamb was liberally smothered in garlic and anchovies.

And so you have this recipe, where you really can make a ding on the otherwise great – though boring – leg of lamb.

I’d do it on the BBQ next time because chargrilled lamb is just so wonderful, though I wouldn’t change the paste. Or the anchovies.

Serve with some roast potato wedges and maybe some beans, tossed with butter, Parmesan and breadcrumbs.

Live the lamb life.

Ingredients

1 x 2.5kg lamb leg, bone in
¼ cup rosemary leaves

¼ cup sage leaves
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 anchovies in oil, drained
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Using a sharp knife, make deep cuts into the lamb leg, 3cm apart. Cut almost to the bone and set aside.
  2. Combine herbs, garlic and 1 tsp salt in a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine paste. Add the anchovies, grind into a paste and then stir in the vinegar and remaining oil.
  3. Place the lamb in a large bowl and rub the paste over the lamb, pushing as much into the incisions as possible. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220c. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking. Place the lamb in a deep roasting pan, pour in the wine, drizzle with extra oil and season with pepper.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180c and cook for 1 hour for medium or until your liking.
  6. Set aside to reset, loosely covered in foil, for 20 minutes.
  7. Slice and enjoy!

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Salsa Dragoncello (Steak Florentine with Tarragon Sauce)

Serves: 2

I am a big fan of dressing up steak and we generally have at least one steak butter on hand for a moorish dinner of steak and potatoes. (You simply cannot go past Café de Paris butter if you are new to it all!)

This recipe is a step up and really is the center of a wonderful meal.

Any number of sides you could serve from chargrilled asparagus with chilli and toasted sesame seeds, a potato gratin, a green salad or all of the above.

However you do it, this will get Saturday lunch talking and kick off an afternoon of wine, laughter and promises you’ll never keep.

I can’t wait.

Ingredients

1kg piece porterhouse steak on the bone (T-bone with loin attached)*
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (with extra to brush)
1 tbsp each chopped thyme and rosemary
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Salsa dragoncello
6 hard-boiled eggs
2 slices day-old ciabatta or sourdough, crust removed, torn into 2cm pieces (makes 1 cup)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
6 anchovy fillet, chopped
1 ½ tbsp baby capers, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Heat your grill on a high heat.
  2. For the salsa: Halves the eggs and scoop out the yolks (you don’t need the whites for the dish). Place the yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  3. Place the bread in a separate bowl with the red wine vinegar and 2 tbsp of warm water. Mash together until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the egg yolks, tarragon, anchovy, capers and oil and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. For the steak: Brush the steak with the extra oil and season with salt. Reduce the the heat of the grill to medium-high and then cook steak for 15 minutes each side for medium rare. (If using an alternative cut, cook until medium rare.)
  5. Whilst cooking, place thyme, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a shallow dish with freshly ground pepper and a couple pinches of salt. Place the cooked steak in the dish, cover with foil and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes, turning once.
  6. To serve, cut steak away from the bone on either side, then slice the fillets. Spoon some of the salsa on top and serve with a drizzle of the resting juices.

 

*Ask your butcher ahead of time for this.

Porteno’s (Christmas) Porchetta

Serves: 8

This is a wonderful Argentinian recipe from Porteno, an equally as wonderful Sydney restaurant.

I’m not sure how you could go wrong with this one: pork belly, chilli, herbs and plenty of cooking time. Go further and over a high heat on your grill, crispen the skin even further for 15 minutes once you’re done with the oven.

Even better than the night before, the pork is incredible on a roll the next day with a bit more of the chimichurri, butter and some of the crackling.

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy this one though at the very least, you would be mad not to do this at Christmas during that crazy time between Christmas Day and New Years.

This is what it is all about.

Ingredients

3 – 4kg pork belly, deboned, skin on
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fine salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
Extra fine salt

Chimichurri
1 cup flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup coriander (loosely packed)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Method

  1. For the pork: Start preparing the pork belly the day before cooking. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the fennel seeds, salt, chilli flakes, peppercorns, garlic and rosemary together to make a paste. Rub the paste on the inside of the pork belly.
  2. Roll the pork belly lengthways and using butcher’s twine, tie the meat at 2 ½cm intervals to hold it together. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. Remove the porchetta from the fridge and uncover. Season with fine salt all over the skin. Leave for 1 to 2 hours to draw out the moisture. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove the salt.
  4. Heat the oven to 150c. Place the porchetta on a rack inside a baking tray. Put in the oven and cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Increase the heat to 200c for 15 minutes to crackle the skin.
  5. For the chimichurri: Pulse the ingredients in a food processor until you have a paste.
  6. Serve the pork with the chimichurri.  

Patate al forno (Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes)

Patate al forno (Italian Oven Roasted Potatoes)

Serves: 4 – 6

I love potatoes pretty much any way you can serve them and potato gratin is one of my favourites.

With a good steak and some bearnaise sauce, you’ve won me.

I also love any new way to do potatoes, especially one that doesn’t require the butter (and cream) that a good gratin demands.

These Italian oven roasted potatoes are just the answer.

You get almost the same effect less the calories.

As a side to a braise or even a robust fish, these are just wonderful.

Ingredients

6 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced (plus 1 additional clove, halved)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves separated (plus 1 to garnish)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c.
  2. Rinse and dry the potato slices and mix in a large bowl with a generous splash or two of the olive oil, salt and pepper, rosemary leaves and garlic.
  3. Take a large baking dish and rub the insides all over with the two garlic cloves halves.
  4. Arrange the potato slices evenly in the dish, overlapping slightly and building row upon row. Add enough water to come up to about half the height of the potatoes, being careful not to displace the dressing. Drizzle a little more olive oil and season again with the salt and pepper. Place the additional rosemary sprig on top.
  5. Roast the potatoes for about 45 – 60 minutes, until the water has evaporated, the potatoes are soft and golden on top. Remove the rosemary sprig and serve.

Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Serves: 4

I think anything with breadcrumbs will be pretty good.

Add Parmesan, chilli, herbs, spices, whatever you have and get it right – and not too doughy or oily – and you have yourself a great meal.

Stuck tonight with a piece of pork loin, we scrambled for options and here is what we came up with.

Served with some green beans in stewed tomato, garlic and olives and some roasted pumpkin with rosemary and we really did have a hit on our hands.

It won’t set the world on fire, though at the end of a long day, it was a little bit fancy, a little like a pork roast and just fine with a glass of vino and the lights turned down.

Ingredients

750gm pork loin
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the pork and oil and spread out across a plate.
  3. Oil the pork. Roll in the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring that all the flesh is covered in breadcrumb mixture. Shake excess mixture off.
  4. Place on a baking-paper lined tray and cook for 25 – 40 minutes until cooked through.