For most of us, Shabbat is about two things: family and food. For most people, Friday night dinner is a weekly, unchanging ritual, and a thing of untouchable holiness in and of itself. Vegetarian households like my own aside, the tradition is not to meddle with tradition: succulent roast chicken and crispy roasted potatoes take pride of place on Shabbat tables world over.
Our dining room motto paraphrases the wise words of Mary Poppins: a thing of beauty is a joy till dinner. These potatoes are golden and crispy on the outside and beautifully fluffy within, and I don’t think I’ve ever had leftovers – they’re truly wonderful!
As with all good things in culinary life, the trick is to keep it super simple. All you’ll need for this is potatoes, olive oil, and seasonings.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pour olive oil into a baking dish and put in the oven to heat.
- Peel the number of potatoes you need (and then a couple extra – this is the kind of recipe that everyone at home will want to “test”…).
- Cut into generous chunks with steep angles and rinse to get rid of excess starch. Steep angles mean longer lines, which means more surface area, which means more crunch!
- Parboil your potatoes: place potato pieces into a large pan of cold, well-salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for five minutes. Remove from the heat and drain. Return to the pan, put the lid on, and shake the pot: this roughs up the potatoes’ edges, the perfect way to get extra crispy bits!
- Remove heated baking dish from the oven. Carefully tip the potatoes into the dish and gently stir to coat with oil. Season to taste (I like rock salt, cracked black pepper, and a couple of whole, unpeeled garlic cloves).
- Roast potatoes in hot oven for about an hour. Turn approximately every 20 minutes to ensure even browning and crisping. Cook until golden, crunchy, and absolutely delicious. Take out the oven and revel in the absolute beauty of your creation. They’re that good.