…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? Without a doubt, potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables on the face of earth. Different varieties are grown by farmers all over the world. The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C. In 1536 Spanish Conquistadors vanquished Peru, discovered the flavors of the potato, and carried them to Europe. Sir Walter Raleigh introduced potatoes to Ireland in 1589 on the 40,000 acres of land near Cork.
The English brought potatoes to North America in the 1620s when the British governor in the Bahamas made a special gift of them to the governor of Virginia. They spread slowly through the northern colonies but had much of the same initial reception in North America as they did in Europe—everybody loved them.
In the Covid-19 Survival Guide: Cooking Lesson #61, we provided a recipe and procedure to make English Roasted Potatoes. They were (and are) yummy. Now find out how to make American Potatoes Great Again with my All-American perfectly roasted potatoes recipe.
Roasted potatoes are a particular joy to eat. It’s all about the pleasure of a crispy exterior with a fluffy, creamy interior. But there is a difference between a potato that has a slight crisp on the outside and one that is truly crunchy. That additional texture can mean the difference between a good potato experience and a great one. So, it is good to know the secrets to making perfect spuds!
For starters, use the right potato. When in America use American russet potatoes. Russets with their higher starch content will always roast up crispier than waxy style potatoes like red or white skinned.
Cook ‘em up HOT! Cook potatoes at a minimum of 400⁰ F, but even as high as 475⁰ F. Don’t be afraid… high heat will cook them faster, which means the natural steam will get out quicker and the exteriors will dry enough to begin crisping earlier in cooking process. Cooking hot and fast will always get you a better exterior, if they start to over-brown before they are finished inside, you can lower the heat to 350 to finish roasting.
Lube ‘em up. French fries crisp up because of their exposure to hot oil. These little beauties aren’t too different. So, be sure to slick ‘em up. Your roasties need plenty of oil on all sides to create that crisp oven-fried texture.
Rough around the edges. A smooth surface on a cut potato will be resistant to crisping. The way to ensure that great exterior is to pre-cook your potatoes by boiling the cubes in water for about 10 minutes, so that they are still firm in the middle, but just starting to be tender on the exterior. Drain well, put a lid on the colander, and give a good shake. This will rough up the exterior of the potatoes and make them look a bit fuzzy. Then toss in oil and roast on high heat. The rougher exterior will crisp up extra crunch! Bet you can’t eat just one!
Dress ‘em up with a nice coat.
If you are a fan of seasoned fries, you can get the same results by tossing your roasted potato cubes in seasoned corn starch or rice, chestnut or all-purpose flour before roasting. The starch will get your potatoes crisp.
ChefSecret: Roasting, by its nature, is a cooking environment that gets things crispy, but if you want it extra crispy and you want that roasted flavor but with the added texture, give your finished potatoes a fast flash by tossing them in a nonstick skillet over high heat to finish that last little bit of cooking with direct heat to get them super crispy. This is the secret used in better restaurants.
Quip of the Day: “It feels like the richer that people get, the harder it is for them to remember that food actually costs money.”
Do you have a question or comment? Do you want to share a favorite recipe or pictures with our readers? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. All recipes and cooking tips are posted on our website https://www.perspectives-la.com/covid-19-survival-guide.
To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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