Welcome back fellow cooks, today I’m gonna talk about a shiny new groundbreaking technique I’m experimenting with lately. And guess what? The tool you’re looking for is not in the kitchen.
Yeah. Open your eyes to the hidden culinary superpowers of your hair dryer!
Now, you might be thinking… are you completely nuts?
Partly. After all, cooking should be a little crazy to be really fun. How would you explain some of the weirdest food combinations that ended up tasting seriously delicious? Such as pairing balsamic vinegar and strawberries, apples and nuts, prosciutto and melon, honey and cheese, apricots in beef stews, pineapple and pizza. Ok, I have to admit, I’m still puzzled by the last one…
Now granted, this technique might never land on Masterchef or haute cuisine books. But you know what? It works wonders with one of the most difficult recipes to get really right.
Don’t laugh. It might be me, but I’ve struggled with roasted potatoes pretty much all my life. No matter how hard I tried. Sourcing best quality potatoes, getting the right variety (mealy, high starch, low moisture), cutting them in different shapes and sizes each time, dialing the suggested temperature carefully on my oven, etc… They always ended up at two sides of the spectrum: dull & soggy or flat out burnt.
So how do you get them nicely brown & crisp on the outside and soft but firm on the inside?
Here’s what worked for me:
- Wash, peel and cut the potatoes in bite sized pieces, not too small, not too big (about an inch for the largest side). Use a clean kitchen towel to rub them dry as much as possible.
- Spread them out in a single layer and season with abundant salt. Let them rest a few minutes: this will help extract even more moisture.
- Use your hair dryer on medium heat (not too hot!) to quickly evaporate the moisture extracted by the salt.
- Pour immediately a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil over the potatoes, making sure all sides are evenly coated: this will keep the residual moisture inside. Preheat the oven at 450 °F (230 °C) and roast the potatoes for roughly 30 minutes, turning them over a couple of times. In the meantime, coarsely chop sage and rosemary and set aside.
- When ready, sprinkle the herbs over the potatoes and roast for 15-20 minutes more, taking the heat down a notch.
Beware that exact cooking times may vary depending on your oven.
As a final touch, season with some freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!
P.S. Try also adding breadcrumbs to the herbs mixture, it will make the potatoes crispier…