The latest America's Test Kitchen cookbook arrived this past weekend, and I jumped on it. As I browsed, I happened upon a potato recipe that I had never heard of. Apparently, the recipe is popular in England, where it's called Fondant Potatoes. For some reason, America's Test Kitchen calls them Melting Potatoes.
We love potatoes. But even with the amazing variety of potato recipes, we get a little bit tired of the same old thing so I was very excited to try this. The tops and bottoms brown to a crisp while the centers remain soft. They're roasted and finished with a light sauce over them.
As it happened, I had fresh from the farm Yukon Gold potatoes just waiting to be used. One lonely red potato had slipped in with them. I hadn't chosen them with this recipe in mind, so they were a variety of shapes and sizes. The good news was that while the tiniest potatoes looked tiny, they tasted every bit as good. We couldn't pick out the red potato at all.
The recipe is simple. The only truly dangerous part for the eternally clueless (like me) is that everything happens at 500 degrees. The potatoes are turned twice during roasting, leaving lots of opportunity to forget that the pan is unbelievably hot. Leave your pot holders on the sides of the pan to remind you while you flip the potatoes. I'm happy to say that (for once) I came away without any burns but on a very busy cooking day, I can see it happening.
The verdict? They're great. The sauce, which I had my doubts about (roasting potatoes in a sauce?) is delicious and perfect for the potatoes. They look like little potato gems (also reminiscent of scallops!). The sauce gives them a shiny little glisten. They would look lovely and elegant on a holiday dinner plate.
The down side to making them for the holidays? You'll need two ovens. At 500 degrees, there probably aren't a lot of other dishes you can bake or warm at the same time. The potatoes require 45 minutes in the oven. And by the way, your kitchen will smell fabulous!
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh or dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
Preheat the oven to 500.
Peel the potatoes, and melt the butter. Slice the ends off the potatoes (use for soup), and slice the potatoes into 1 inch thick rounds. Place the cut potatoes in a bowl and mix with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour the butter over them and toss to coat. Place the potatoes on a baking dish in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. The bottoms should show just a bit of browning.
Using tongs and spatulas, flip the potatoes and return to oven. Roast 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the garlic to the chicken stock and bring to a brief boil.
Flip the potatoes again (they will look browned on top and bottom) and pour the chicken stock into the pan. Roast 15 minutes.
Baste with the sauce before serving.
|Toss with salt, pepper, thyme, and melted butter.|
|Place on roasting pan in a single layer.|
|After the second 15 minute roasting. Nicely browned.|
|Add the broth.|
|This is how they look when they're done.|