I don’t know about you, but if I were to be stranded on a desert island and could only chose one type of food to cultivate, my choice would be the humble potato. You wouldn’t catch me chomping on celery, when I could be sitting on the beach with a plate of hot and wholesome potatoes in front of me!
Incredibly versatile, potatoes can also be devastatingly delicious.
If you want to discover the full potential of the potato, you have to try these!
The fondant potato, deceptively, has nothing to do with cake icing. In fact, they are the ideal savory accompaniment to any steak, chicken, or Sunday roast. Known for their flavorsome, crispy ends, and soft and fluffy texture inside, they’re a classic way to prepare one of nature’s greatest treasures. Chef John from Food Wishes shows us how it’s done.
Just try not to drool on your screen!
It’s a recipe that requires love, but it’s well worth it!
Don’t worry, there’s nothing too technical in making these potatoes, rather what makes them special is the extra love and time that infuses them with flavor. As Chef John puts it:
“This is a very old school recipe, much more popular in England and Europe. Probably because it has more than one step, Americans have never really embraced it. But I really do think it’s a cool recipe. And you can never have enough potato recipes.”
I agree John, any potato recipe is worth having.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For 6 fondant potatoes:
- 1x knob of butter (2-3 tbsp)
- 3x large russet potatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2x tbsp vegetable oil
- 4x thyme sprigs
- 1/2x cup chicken broth or stock, more if needed
-Preheat your oven to 425° F before you begin.
Cut those taters!
Chef John insists on using russet potatoes, as they are the best for the texture we’re going for. Carefully chop the ends off of each of your potatoes, before slicing off the skins for that traditional look. If you’d prefer, you can use a peeler on the sides. What we want is as close to perfect cylinders as possible.
Then, chop your cylinders in half, making two smaller ones, each approximately 2 inches long.
Soak the potatoes for about 5 minutes in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes. This will remove starch from the surface of the potatoes.
After 5 minutes place them on paper towels and pat them dry.
This is all key to getting that nice, crispy coating.
Bring the heat!
Prepare a cast iron skillet with your vegetable oil over high heat. When the oil is ready and shimmering, place your potatoes into the pan, evenly spaced out. This is also a perfect time to administer a healthy dose of salt and pepper for seasoning. Let your potatoes sit here for 5-6 minutes, or until the ends are a deep golden brown.
Protip: John recommends placing the best-looking side down, as these will eventually end up on the top when time comes to serve.
Flip the script
It’s now time to flip your potatoes upside-down. Once all of your potatoes are flipped, use some tongs to blot out all the oil in the skillet with a paper towel. We will be replacing the oil with our knob of butter. Among the butter, place a sprig or two of fresh thyme. Once the butter is melted, use the sprig to “paint” the potatoes with infused butter or spoon it over them.
We want our butter to foam and become a beautiful pale tan color. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. When the butter is the desired color, pour the chicken stock into the skillet.
Now, your skillet is ready for the oven.
Place the skillet into the preheated oven, ready to bake for 30 minutes, or until your potatoes are creamy and tender. If they’re not ready after half an hour, place another 1/4 cup of stock into the skillet and give them a bit more time.
When they’re done, it’s time to plate up!
Place the potatoes on a serving dish, and dress with a fresh sprig of thyme. Don’t forget to drizzle that thyme-infused stock from the skillet over your potatoes. Then…you’re done! Once they’ve cooled it’s…thyme…to dig in and enjoy!
Watch the full video below to see Chef John showing us how it’s done!
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