Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fondant Potato


This year has been incredibly busy. I have to say, I was not expecting it. I was hoping this year would be easy, and that I would be cooking and posting new recipes four or five times a week. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. I've barely had time to cook for myself and when I have, I've been so rushed that I don't have time to take pictures and post. This not only ends up being unhealthy, but also expensive. So I've decided to make a renewed effort to eat at home.

This is going to involve finding and coming up with recipes that will keep for a few days in the fridge so that I only have to cook a few times a week. And, it just so happens that this potato recipe I came up with last week is perfect for that. They taste good the next day heated in the microwave, even better if you have the time to heat them in the oven, and (I might be alone here, but) I love them as a quick snack cold from the fridge.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Masterchef Australia. I was watching this summer and multiple times I saw them make something called Fondant Potatoes. I had no idea what these were, but the judges made them sound divine. Perfectly crispy on the outside and an inside that is so soft and tender it almost has the texture of mashed potatoes. I looked online and couldn't find a recipe that seemed like it would give me the results I wanted. So instead, I took tips and methods from multiple sources and combined them in a way that I thought would work. I actually think I came up with the perfect potato.

When I was younger, my parents would make this amazing pollo con papas (roasted chicken and potatoes). What I loved most about this meal was the potatoes. The side touching the pan would get completely browned and crispy, and the potato would absorb all the fat and juices the chicken released. They were phenomenal and I think I achieved this exact same result with my recipe. As always, the amounts and ingredients are all suggestions. You can use chicken stock instead of bullion, any sort of spices you think will taste good, and can even use less butter if you want (but the butter makes them so delicious).

Fondant Potato
2 very large russet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter (for pan)
3 tbsp butter (for oven)
2 tablespoons bullion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 cup water


One of the most important things about this recipe is getting every piece of potato as close to the same size as possible. This ensures that they all cook through fully without having some fall apart. Unfortunately, this means there will be some potato waste. I chopped these pieces up, boiled them for a couple minutes, stored them in the fridge, and then used them to make an awesome hash the next morning.

I found that the best way for me to achieve uniform pieces is to cut each potato into 6 equal disks, and then use a round shape to cut out the inside of the disks. You might be able to tell, I don't actually have a pastry or cookie cutter, so I used the top of a cocktail shaker. Sometimes, you've just gotta find a way to get it done even if you don't have the correct tools.


The next step is getting both sides of the potato nicely browned. Start off by heating up the olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter in a heavy bottom pan. Salt and pepper the potato disks and brown for a few minutes on each side. As you can see from the picture above, I under-browned the first side a little. This is acceptable as long as you make sure that the under-browned side is the one that ends up submerged in the liquid.


While they are browning, you want to soften up the other 3 tbsp of butter and spread it around the bottom of a small casserole dish. Then, lay the browned potatoes on top. This makes sure they won't stick and the butter ends up being absorbed by the potatoes.


Next, you want to mix up your liquid. I didn't have any chicken stock on hand so I just used bullion, all the spices listed in the recipe, and water. Really, the only thing that matters is that the liquid you use taste good; that is what the potatoes are going to taste like when they are done. Once you have your liquid with spices mixed together, pour it into the casserole dish. You want the liquid to go about 3/4 of the way up the potatoes (it is critical that the liquid doesn't cover the top, otherwise they won't stay crunchy).


Finally, stick them in a 350 degree over for about 30 minutes. The best way to tell when they are done is if a toothpick goes straight through the center with absolutely no resistance. As you can see from the picture, the liquid and butter are going to reduce and make this great sauce to drizzle across the top of the potatoes. I'd actually recommend just squeezing half a lemon in with the remains and making that be your sauce.


5 comments:

  1. Hector! These look so good, I want to make them...soon!

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    1. Thanks! They really are some of the best potatoes I've ever had. I definitely want to hear how they turn out if you make them.

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  2. With the sides that are submerged in the oven, do they go very soft?

    Tried making Cubed fondants using a different recipe, but one side always got way overdone. Tempted to try this recipe.

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    1. Unfortunately, the sides that are submerged do get soft. With this recipe you end up with a really crispy, browned top and the rest of the sides are just fork tender.

      I wish I knew of a way to keep all the sides crispy, but at least with this recipe it is pretty difficult to burn or overdo one side.

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    2. Cheers for that.

      I usually add stock to the butter in the pan and leave them simmer. But always tend to overdo or sometimes burn the bottom. Suppose I could keep rotating them, but will have to experiment!

      Thanks!

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