Perfect English Roast Potatoes

Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Perfect English Roast Potatoes
English roast potatoes are boiled, then shallow-fried in the oven until burnished and exceedingly crunchy.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)

Peel the potatoes, then cut them into rough 1 ½-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover by at least 2 inches with cold water. Season the water liberally with salt, then place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, which should take about 15 minutes or so.


Meanwhile, pour the oil into a large roasting pan and set the roasting pan in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 500 degrees (or as high as it goes) so the pan and oil can get blazingly hot while the potatoes come to a boil.


Once the water starts boiling, continue cooking the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until half-cooked — you should be able to pierce the largest pieces halfway through to their middles with a paring knife — 3 to 5 minutes.


Drain the potatoes in a colander in the sink, then transfer them back to the pot. Clamp on the lid and, with mitts or folded kitchen towels on your hands for protection, give the whole pot a few shakes to rough up the potatoes.


Using caution, open the oven, pull the hot roasting pan full of oil out of the oven, then carefully topple the potatoes into the hot oil. Give the potatoes a stir to disperse them evenly, then return the pan to the oven and let the potatoes roast for 20 minutes. Flip the potatoes to evenly brown the outsides, and roast until deep golden brown and intensely crunchy, 20 to 30 minutes more.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes out of the oil and onto paper towels to drain. Season with salt while hot and serve immediately.

Make Ahead:
The potatoes can be made through Step 4, then spread out on a baking sheet to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to cook, place them cold from the fridge directly into the hot oil in the roasting pan; the cook time will be the same.

Ben Mims is the cooking columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He has written three cookbooks and has worked as a food editor and recipe developer for several food media publications, such as Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Saveur, Food Network and Buzzfeed/Tasty.
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