~ Serving American home cooking on the Upper West Side Since 1981 ~

How to Make a Perfect Roast Potato

I’d like to do a few different blog posts on the different ways to prepare potatoes. Potatoes are an interesting dish because of how many different ways you can prepare them. They are also somewhat unique in how the smallest things can make big differences in how your potatoes turn out. So, I’d like to start this series with the simplest ways of preparing delicious potatoes and move onto more difficult techniques as the weeks go on.

Roasting A Potato

The first way we are going to make our potatoes is roasting them!

To start, pre-heat the oven to 450°. As far as the brand goes I like to use Idaho Potatoes because of the starch content, but you can use whatever potato you prefer. I also like Idahos because they tend to come bigger in size and the skin is a bit thicker than most other potatoes.

The perfect roast potato

The final product!

Rub or brush the skin with some vegetable oil and cover it in Kosher salt. Once the potatoes are coated and covered in salt and oil use a fork and put one prick in the potatoes before you throw them on your greased cookie sheet or aluminum foil. Greasing the pan or using the foil makes the clean up job a lot smoother. Leave your potatoes in the oven until you can stick a knife all the way through from top to bottom.

Pro Tip: A nice thing to know about potatoes, and especially roasted ones, they are hard to overcook, but very easy to undercook. As you over cook the potatoes they loose a bit of moisture, but become a bit fluffier on the inside.

If you follow the above easy steps you’ve got some beautiful, simply roasted potatoes!

The Thing About Oil and Salt

The cool thing about the oil and salt that go on the potatoes is that there are hundreds of varieties of both. My favorite is when a friend or family member goes out of the country and I can ask them to bring me back different kinds of salt. My oldest son, Bucko, just came back from Israel and brought me back smoked salt from the Dead Sea. I haven’t tried anything with it yet, but I’m really excited!

As for the oil, A little background on my choice in oil is very simple: 32 years ago, when we started roasting potatoes at the restaurant, we did a blind testing in the kitchen with all different sorts of oils. We tried vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, Virgin olive oil etc. and the best tasting was always vegetable oil. You can always use a different oil, but if you like Good Enough To Eat’s potatoes, vegetable oil is the way to go.

Spicing Your Potatoes

One very important thing to remember about roasting these potatoes is that if you plan to spice them up somehow with fresh herbs or spices make sure you do it after they are fully cooked. When you roast and herb in the oven for that long, the flavors tend to become bitter. Instead, infuse some oil with your spices or just add them when the potatoes are done.

Roasting in Smaller Pieces

Finally, if you feel like cutting the potatoes into smaller pieces and roasting them that way, great! The only difference really is that you preheat the oven to 350°. Cut your potatoes up (uneven pieces look nicer when plating), mix with the vegetable oil and then sprinkle in your salt and pepper (a little pepper when the pieces are chunked works great). Cook it on a cookie sheet or sizzle plate with parchment paper or aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn (it’s also easier to cook that way). Unless you’re using a convection oven, rotate the pan in the oven to make sure they all get the same heat. You’ll know when your potatoes are done if you prick in with a fork and the potato slides right off. Remember: you can always use any type of potatoes to make these quick and easy baked or roasted potatoes.

And that’s it for the first in our “Potato, Potato” series! Stay tuned for the other ways to prepare a potato. And if you have any particular tips on roasting potatoes or requests for future segments, leave us a comment below!

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