I’ve always considered russet potatoes to be my all purpose potato. It keeps thing easy. I can just buy one big bag and use them in just about anything that requires a potato. I find, however, that they don’t work very well when I make oven-roasted potatoes. With so many varieties of potatoes available it can be somewhat confusing to choose the right spud for a particular recipe. I know most recipes will call for a potato by type, and if you’re like me, rather than run out to get more potatoes when you have five pounds in the pantry, you’ll use what you have. This has happened to me more than a few times and I have tried every method to obtain a good roasted russet, they always retain that fluffy texture. Great baked, not so good when roasted.
For me, red skinned potatoes are the answer. Sometimes marketed under the variety “Red Bliss,” I often recommend people use them, yet somehow never have them when I need them. Recently I made a point of buying three pounds of them for roasting. Here’s the method I used:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat a scant quarter cup of olive oil in a wide cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in a medium-sized, quartered and sliced onion, a pinch of red pepper, and the roughly cubed potatoes, leaving them with skins intact. You should hear a sizzle when you add the potatoes and quickly toss to coat everything in the hot oil. Place the skillet in the hot oven and roast, allowing the potatoes to develop a crust on the bottom before turning them. Don’t bother salting until they’re cooked through, about 20-30 minutes, then season and enjoy.
This method produced absolutely perfect roasted potatoes with just the right crispy consistency. We ate about half of them for dinner and stored the rest. I have to tell you, it’s really been a treat the past couple of days to go into the fridge and pull out some roasted potatoes for breakfast homefries, a quick potato salad, or to simply toss them with herbs and a light vinaigrette for a delicious “potato salad” without all the prep. They actually taste better a few days later. It’s a great way to eat potatoes more often and they’re great cold or reheated and added to various dishes.