I often bemoan that I don’t especially enjoy baking things because I can’t tweak a recipe to taste as I go like I can while cooking on the stovetop, but the real problem is a matter of kitchen chemistry.
Case and point: roasted potatoes. They’re delicious, they’re easy, and we love to eat them, but I hardly ever made them before the past few months. Getting the taste just right isn’t the problem. It’s all down to one factor: crispiness. No matter how tiny I diced my potatoes or how high temperature I roasted them, I’d still get the same soggy, saggy wedges.
I cracked the code back in November with the help of some tips from RachelCooks.com. I wasn’t getting anything wrong about the temperature or size of my potatoes. It turns out that the magic of crispiness is a matter of chemistry, and it all comes down to the prep work. You’ve got to soak some of the starch out of your spuds, plus dry them thoroughly and space them out on the pan.
With Rachel’s tips on my side, my roasted potatoes when from flaccid to super-crispy in three attempts!
However, now I have my own tip to add to the mix. If you want delicious, savory roasted potatoes, mincing an onion isn’t going to get you there. What you need are shallots.
Shallots have a much subtler spiciness than onion, and a sweet undertone that comes out when they’re roasted. I’d go with one to two of them to match Rachel’s recipe in lieu of the onion. I used to dice them by hand, but lately I just drop them into the food processor along with a quarter cup of grated romano cheese and a tablespoon of minced garlic from a jar. I add that mix to the potatoes along with salt, pepper, and olive oil, but otherwise follow Rachel’s instructions to the tee.
The result? Perfect, restaurant-quality, super-crispy potatoes, every time.
(Sadly, we ate them all before I could snap a photo to go with this post!)