Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Crispy Oven-Roasted PotatoesMy dad was completely obsessed in his search for a perfectly-crispy hash brown. It was perhaps the most important metric by which he measured a breakfast place; the best diner breakfast in the world could be ruined by a side of wet, soggy, greasy hash browns. For him, such lazy inattention to detail was taken as personal affront. How would someone who dared to charge money for fried eggs possibly expect to get away with calling cubes of boiled potato and onions sprinkled with paprika, a suitable pairing for breakfast?

When he quit his four-pack-a-day habit and subsequently became utterly consumed with thoughts of elaborate breakfasts that would put even the “Full Irish” to shame, which he would begin cooking at dawn, he tried a few different techniques. There was a brief pause, I remember, on frozen hash browns that could be cooked in the toaster. He opted to fry the frozen slabs in oil, instead, which resulted in plenty of golden crunch, but a completely obliterated shredded potato inside that was reduced to dust. Ultimately, he settled on slicing the previous nights’ leftover baked potato, the ubiquitous starch found at nearly every family dinner, and frying the slices in oil before sprinkling them with salt and pepper. The results were good, but not perfect: the inside of the potato slice would pull apart, becoming soggy and overcooked, while the skin of the potato would pull away from the flesh and become bitter.

I think he would have been happy with this technique, a slight spin on the version of the crispy potato he nearly perfected in our kitchen in Tenants Harbor. As with a properly cooked french fry, the secret to these potatoes is in the par-boiling. A few minutes in some boiling water, followed by a finish in a hot oven yields a fried potato that is golden and crunchy on the outside, with a soft, fluffy interior. I like to use Yukon Gold-style potatoes; their yellow flesh is particularly creamy and ever-so-slightly sweet. Dipped in a little Sriracha-spiked ketchup, these potatoes work equally well as a side at dinnertime, as they do at breakfast.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes
Adapted from a recipe by America’s Test Kitchen; Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Method:

Place a large baking sheet in the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Slice potatoes into half-inch thick slices.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

In a medium saucepan over high heat, add potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until edges of potatoes begin to cook, but inside remains firm, about five more minutes.

Drain potatoes, and toss in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Toss vigorously with a plastic spatula, and drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil and some more salt. Continue tossing, 1-2 to minutes, until potato slices are covered in a starchy paste.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Carefully remove baking sheet from oven, and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place potatoes in a single layer and return to oven.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Bake potatoes until bottoms turn golden brown, about 20-23 minutes. Flip potatoes with a metal spatula, and return to oven to brown other side, about 10 minutes more.

Remove from oven, and sprinkle finished potatoes with kosher salt and pepper, to taste.

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Malcolm Bedell

Author

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the taco-centric blog "Eat More Tacos," with writing and photography credits including Serious Eats, Down East, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. His seasonal food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater, and he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

19 Comments
  1. These look like those really gourmet thick cut kettle chips you sometimes get at gastropubs. In other words, they look great. I wonder if you can do this equally well with russets? UTZ makes a great russet chip and I’ve always felt their ability to convert their starches to sugars makes them supreme when used in a chip application.

    By the way, have you ever attempted ATK’s stupid-simple best french fry recipe where they start with cold oil and bring it up to 350?

    Giving up cigs for hash browns. You’re father was a wise man.

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  2. But wait! Even better…remember when your dad used to cook chicken wings on a rack, and put sliced potatoes on the pan underneath? All the chicken fat, and the extra butter he basted the wings with, would drip all over the potatoes, turning them into some crispy fried wonders. Dip the whole mess in wing sauce, some blue cheese…
    There’s really nothing more to be said!

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    1. I don’t remember that. But it sounds delicious. I think the upshot to this method is that you get a perfectly crispy outside while retaining that soft, fluffy french fry interior…and in a marginally healthier way, since they are cooked in the oven and not fried. And not covered in chicken fat.

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  3. this looks great! I roast chopped up potatoes for potato salad – having never had luck with the boiling method, as they end up either too soft or too hard. I am gonna try this method for my potato salad potatoes too.

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  4. My husband is always complaining about potatoes. LOL I have this written down so I can wow him at dinner! 🙂 Thank you so much! (Do you have any ideas for easy kid friendly food? I have two step children, 8 and 9, and two babies, 22 months and 10 months, and I always seem to be making two different meals at the same time between 4 kids and their daddy. HELP!) THANK YOU from a very busy Mommy!! 🙂

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