Monday, October 13, 2014

Fondant Potatoes

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!

Melting Potatoes
from The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2015
recipe by Christie Morrison, Cook's Country

Do not use a glass baking dish because it could shatter.
Use potatoes about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
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.


  1. Replies
    1. They look very pretty, Roberta. And taste great, too!

  2. We love roasted potatoes in our house, but never had them with a sauce over them. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe, Krista--Maya

    1. We had never had anything like this, either, Maya. But I'm sure I'll be making them more often in the future.

  3. Seein' as how I'm a good Irish girl, of course I love everything with potatoes. This recipe looks wonderful, and it'll be on the menu this week!

    1. Great! I'm eager to hear what you think, Sheila.

  4. Replies
    1. Libby, they're very pretty to look at. And the combination of the browned edges and soft insides is a nice change.

  5. OMG is my mouth watering! I adore potatoes in all forms and these look swoon worthy! But 6 tablespoons of butter?? These will have to be a special, once-a-year treat. How many is the recipe supposed to feed? (I could probably eat them all by myself!)

    1. LOL! I'm sure I ate more than my fair share. But we did have leftovers. I didn't count them but if you served each person four or five (and maybe a couple of seconds), you could easily feed four people. So it's not *that* much butter per person.

  6. I love watching Cook's Country, on Create-TV. I'm sure it's a lot of work, perfecting the recipes, but they make it look like fun.

    Looking forward to The Ghost and Mrs. the cover.

    1. I've never heard of Create-TV! Is that on cable? I hope you'll like The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, Patricia. Fingers crossed!

  7. Krista, these look fabulous.

    Another potato fan here. Will be trying this soon, on the first cold day! Thank you.

    1. We had a cold, rainy weekend, perfect for some heartier fare.

  8. They look yummy, but I can no longer eat potatoes for health reasons. But I'm definitely looking forward to devouring your new book. Loved the first one��. Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

    1. That's too bad, Ronna. With all the recipes we post, I'm sure you'll find something you can eat! Thanks for saying such lovely things about my books. I hope you'll like The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer!

  9. Replies
    1. Thank you, Wanda! That's so nice of you to say!

  10. Beautiful side dish for the holidays, Krista, thank you for sharing--and for the very good tips, especially the hot pan tip. (I have a few kitchen battle scars, and I'm sure you do, too) I think these potatoes would be worth it!

    ~ Cleo

  11. These look amazing, and I'm eager to try 'em!