That's one inflammatory blog post title if I've ever read one. Everyone thinks they make the best roast spuds. That, or their mother's can't be beat. I'm here to tell you you're wrong. As usual.
Our roast spuds were always cooked alongside the lamb they were accompanying. The delicious lamby juices would penetrate the little starchy nuggets so they'd be not only crispy but meaty at the same time. If there's one thing that improves vegetables, it's meat. (Sorry vegetarians, I'm in one of those moods).
I've modified Mum's tricks but stuck with the key concept - potatoes are a great little vehicle for more dominant flavours, particularly when they're all crunchy and golden. I keep them out of the meat tray when roasting: sometimes the meat can cause the potatoes to sog up. No one like a soggy spud.
I also veer away from the regular old olive oil. How do you feel about duck fat? I know, I know. It's goose fat's poor cousin, but we will have to make do on this occasion. I kid. Duck fat is like a great tan: great in the searing heat, completes the look, but will probably kill you in the long run. Yolo, amiright?
You've probably seen some of these tips on the telly before. Boil the spuds beforehand. Rough'em up a bit like they talked smack about your mother. Garlic and something herby (not that herb). But the most important tip: patience.
Stop opening the oven door. I can see you lingering there, pacing back and forth wondering if they're done. When you're at that point, put the timer on for 30 minutes. That's how wrong you were. Totes wrong.
Don't turn the heat up either. Just leave them be. Jeez. Go do something else. Watched pot and all that, yeah?
What kind of tots to use? A coliban's good (and can be found in a supermarket pretty easily) and a King Edward also rocks, but is probably more easily found at a farmer's market. A sebago or pontiac will also do the trick. You're looking for a good floury morsel: probably the only time in this life you'll use that term. Embrace it.
You may have read all of this and still be thinking, "But Emma, I do all these things, my potatoes are pretty great, but not earth shattering." Well, my friend, you may have done all of these things separately, but it's the culmination of all these tips that hits the spud out of the park and splatters it against a mesh fence. A synergy, if I may. And I may. And you should too.
8 medium floury potatoes, peeled
sea salt and pepper
4 tbsp duck fat
your favourite fresh herb (like sage, thyme or rosemary)
1 small head of garlic
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the duck fat in a roasting pan and pop in the oven around halfway through preheating.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Chop the potatoes into pieces around 4-5cm wide. Salt the water and add the potatoes. Boil for around 8 minutes and drain. Scuff up the potatoes in your colander.
Add the potatoes to your roasting pan and roast for at least one hour, turning half way through cooking. They may need another 15 minutes, but will take longer if you keep opening the door. You have been warned.