Crisp Roasted Potatoes

August 13, 2010

Early this year I made a few varieties of french fries; Steak Fries and Easier French Fries. But still, I am looking for a healthier way to cook them, but still get that great french fry taste. A recent America’s Test Kitchen episode promised just that: It opened with Chris Kimball munching on a plate of french fries, but set the plate aside to try these Crisp Roasted Potatoes.

The myth of oven baked potatoes that are as good as french fries remains elusive.

The recipe is here. First, slice the potatoes 1/2-inch thick. Because they are sliced to an even thickness they will all cook at the same rate, regardless of potato size. Preheat oven and sheet pan to 450-degrees. Cover with 1-inch of water in a dutch oven, bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in colander, and put in large bowl. Dress with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; Toss using a rubber spatula. Then dress with another 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Again toss using a rubber spatula, this time for 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle the final tablespoon oil on the hot sheet pan, quickly add potatoes in a single layer and bake first side for 20 minutes. Flip and bake second side for another 10 minutes.

I can only rate these 3-stars, but this is not the final word on this recipe. In a few weeks I will revisit it taking into account the following issues:

  1. Not only am I embarrassed about my baking sheet (photo below), but the dark spots (and rusty spots on underside) caused the potatoes to cook unevenly; even after rotating the pan during baking.  Solution: my beautiful new sheet pan is in the mail.  Here are ATK’s 2009 ratings.
  2. My shameful sheet pan is also small, and only fit 2 pounds of potatoes.
  3. I forgot to salt the water with 1 tablespoon. It would have definitely helped even out the flavors.
  4. The yukon gold potatoes called for in the recipe gave extra sweetness that I didn’t like. ATK specifically chose this potato for the texture, but next time I will try russets for the taste.
  5. 1/2-inch may be too thin. By the time they finished cooking they were more like 1/4-inch. Like thick potato chips. Next time I will go a little thicker, perhaps 5/8-inch.
  6. The whole idea of these is to be healthier than french fries, but still 5 tablespoons is no small amount.

Rating: 3-star.
Cost: $1.50.
How much work? Small-to-Medium.
How big of a mess?  Small-to-Medium.
Start time 6:00 PM. Dinner time 7:00pm

Actually, it doesn't look that bad in the picture. But if you saw it in person you'd understand my shame. Ready for the bin!

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