This recipe appears in:The Food Lab: How to Roast Fall and Winter Vegetables Staff Picks: The Ultimate Serious Eats Father's Day Menu Serious Entertaining: A Blowout Christmas Dinner The Food Lab: Ultra-Crispy Roast Potatoes
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]
These potatoes are parboiled then tossed roughly in a bowl with a metal spoon until their surfaces have been roughed and scratched up. All those microscopic nooks and crannies will make for an extra crunchy exterior.
Note: For creamier potatoes with a slightly less crisp crust, substitute Yukon Gold potatoes. Duck fat, turkey fat, or chicken fat will give the best results, but bacon fat or olive oil will work well.
- 4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (see note), rinsed, peeled if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup duck fat (see note)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 sprigs thyme
Adjust oven racks to lower and upper position and preheat oven to 500°F. Place potatoes in a large saucepot and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show a slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
Add fat to bowl with potatoes. Season with pepper and more salt to taste then toss with a large metal spoon until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/fat paste. Divide potatoes evenly between two heavy rimmed baking sheets. Spread thyme sprigs over potatoes.
Transfer baking sheets to the oven and roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes total, swapping top the trays top for bottom and rotating them once half way through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the potatoes and roast until the second side is golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs, and serve.