The best roast potatoes
Everyone loves a perfect roast potato – fluffy in the centre, with a crispy outer shell that shatters upon biting, and salted to perfection. Martha Collison's recipe includes some little tricks to help you, but don’t squeeze them all onto one tray – space is crucial for them to become nice and crisp.
- Prepare25 mins
- Cook50 mins
- Total time1 hr 15 mins
- 4 large King Edward potatoes
- 4 clove/s garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- 125g goose fat
For the herb salt
- 3 leaves sage
- 2 sprig/s thyme
- 1 sprig/s rosemary
- 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
- ½ clementine, scrubbed, finely grated zest
Preheat the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7 and place a large roasting tray in to heat up. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters (use your judgement with smaller or larger potatoes. The most important thing is that they’re a consistent size across the batch).
Place the potatoes into a large saucepan of cold water and soak for 5 minutes, then drain away the starchy water. Cover again with about 2L water and add the table salt and garlic cloves, still in their papery jackets. Bring to the boil. As soon as the water is boiling, set a timer for 6 minutes.
Once the potatoes have parboiled for 6 minutes, tip the contents of the saucepan into a colander in the sink and leave to steam dry for 5 minutes. Evaporating off as much water as possible creates a crispy outer skin.
Add the goose fat to the empty saucepan and heat until bubbling. Toss the potatoes over a few times in the colander to rough up the edges, then tip into the hot fat. Clamp on the lid and shake vigorously for a few seconds to coat each potato.
Tip the potatoes and garlic cloves into the hot roasting tin and, using a spoon, separate them so they don’t touch each other. Pour over any remaining fat from the saucepan, then roast the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, turning often so every side becomes crispy.
For the herby salt, use a sharp knife or mini food processor/spice grinder to finely chop the leaves from the sage, thyme and rosemary (discard the woody stems). Add the sea salt and stir well, breaking down some of the bigger crystals. Add the clementine zest, mix again and decant into a small jar, ready to season the potatoes
Once ready, remove the potatoes from the oven and tip into a large bowl. Season with 2 tsp herb salt, toss well to coat, then serve immediately while piping hot.
If you’re not planning on using the salt immediately (or want to keep the leftovers for another time), spread it out on a small baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 160ºC, gas mark 4 to dry it out, then allow to cool before putting it in a jar. The salt will last this way for up to 1 month. Without drying, I recommend using in 3 days.
I tested several different varieties of Waitrose potatoes to help me discover the very best kind for roast potatoes. King Edwards came out top, for the perfect fluffy centre and super crisp outer shell. Regal white came in a close second and had a slightly more robust centre for those that like a denser roastie. I recommend both, or another floury variety if you prefer.
Goose fat, beef dripping, olive oil, lard, butter – I tried them all! Goose fat is superior, yields a satisfyingly crisp outside and imparts a luxurious flavour that is ideal for the festive season. I also enjoyed the results from the olive oil if you prefer something slightly less heavy.
These roast potatoes are perfectly matched to poultry – think turkey or chicken. If you’re having a beef centrepiece, try roasting your potatoes in beef dripping, melted with ½ tsp Marmite for a beautiful umami richness.
Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe