Simple, quick, tasty and so much better than chips, sautéed potatoes are a staple accompaniment in our house to plenty of dishes. According to my current favourite cook, Marcella, “The ideal pan-roasted potato has a thin, crackly crust sheathing an interior of the most yielding tenderness”.
Wow – doesn’t that just make your mouth water just reading it??? Marcella has a great way with words!
It’s important to use the right spuds in the first place – they need to be fairly waxy such as Maris Piper or Desirée. Certain small varieties like charlotte work quite well too.
The choice of pan is also important. Fine to use a non-stick pan, but I don’t think the end result is as good. Using a wide heavy bottomed regular pan means the potatoes will stick – which is good!! The sticky bits are the burnt bits, the flavour and the crisp that you are looking for. If you can’t get all the cubes in at once with room to spare then cook them in two batches.
You only need a few simple larder basics:
- waxy boiling potatoes
- veg oil
Here’s what to do …
- You don’t need to peel the potatoes but I normally do out of habit
- Ideally cut them into equal sized cubes between 1/2″ – 3/4″ and just throw away all the off-cuts and ends – in the photo above I just roughly shopped them up but this can lead to some being overcooked with others still hard in the middle.
- Throw into a pan of salted boiling water for three to four mins to par-boil – be vigilent or you’ll have mash.
- Drain and dry the potaotes – I tend to just leave them in the colander for 5 mins or so so the steam and water evaporates
- Choose a wide, heavy bottom pan and pour in a good couple of slugs of oil
- On a medium heat, wait until the oil sizzles when you drop in one of the potatoes – once the oil is hot enough, carefully add the rest.
- Cook gently until the potatoes feel tender when you stab them with a fork.
Now you have two options –
- Cook through right now until golden brown and crispy
- Take off the heat, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon (keeping the oil in the pan) and allow to cool completely.
- Just before you want to serve the rest of the meal, put the pan back on a high heat and when the oil is is very hot put potatoes back in.
- Cook until they form a light but brown crust on all sides
Either way, once they are cooked, sprinkle with salt, serve, eat, enjoy and get ready for requests for more.