Everyday Food (December 2009)
It's hard to get very excited about roasted potatoes. Sure, they're tasty and fulfilling, and the crispy skin of a hot fried potato is comfort food at its most delicious.
But you'd never really describe roasted potatoes as "exciting." They'd never be stand-out dish of a meal.
Never, that is, until now.
We don't want to overstate how good this Crispy Potato Roast is...but it will forever and irreversibly alter your life. If you think you've had roasted potatoes before, you have seen but through a mirror dimly.
The key is in the stacking: Slice the potatoes very thin and then place them in the roasting dish one right next to the other, like a roll of poker chips. In the oven, the thin top of each slice turns gorgeously golden brown and crisp while the rest of the slice stays soft, buttery and warm.
When we've roasted potatoes in the past, we've diced them into small cubes. The result was okay: The skins would get nicely brown, but sometimes that's all you could really taste. In this Crispy Potato Roast, on the other hand, you actually taste the potato-ness of the whole thing -- and it's heaven!
(A nice bonus: Stacking the potatoes like this also makes for a much more impressive-looking dish! When has a bowl of roast potatoes ever looked so phenomenal?!)
The kicker is, this recipe is a cinch -- if you have a mandoline. We own the Oxo Good Grips Mandoline, which comes highly recommended by America's Test Kitchen. In truth, we only haul out our mandoline once every few months and we mostly use it on potatoes.
If you don't have a mandoline, don't worry! You can still tackle this recipe just fine. You'll just want to be sure to slice the potatoes very thin. The recipe calls for four pounds of potatoes -- so it may be a little tedious, but by no means is it an insurmountable task.
Either way, we think you'll be thrilled with this Crispy Potato Roast. And you may never think about roast potatoes the same way again.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 1/4 hours
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
4 shallots, thickly sliced lengthwise
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
8 sprigs thyme
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. Brush bottom of a round 9-inch baking dish with some butter mixture. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes very thinly crosswise.
2. Arrange potato slices vertically in dish. Wedge shallots throughout. Sprinkle with salt and red-pepper flakes (if using); brush with remaining butter mixture. Bake 1 1/4 hours. Add thyme and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisp top, about 35 minutes more.