Friday, August 31, 2007

Thyme Roasted Potatoes

Thyme Roasted Potatoes

Duck fat is culinary liquid gold; it's savory flavor and rich fragrance can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. The average French fry becomes the ethereal pomme frites ala canard, bland roasted potatoes are elevated to best-potatoes-ever status, and sauteed vegetables get a little extra oomph. After roasting my first duck last April, I had saved every last drop. It only rendered about a third of a cup, which unfortunately was not enough for the classic confit de canard, but its uses are endless. A spoonful here and there is perfect for frying eggs, fried rice, mashed into potatoes, roasting root vegetables, swirling into risotto, polenta, and grits, searing gnocchi, and cutting into savory pastries. After coming home from the store with two pounds of red potatoes and with my potted thyme flourishing happily, I knew it was time to dig out the precious lipid from the freezer.

- Duck fat makes the absolute best roasted potatoes. You can also use butter or olive oil but once you try duck fat, you'll never go back. As an added plus, duck fat is "healthier" than butter.
- Duck fat can be purchased online.
- Store duck fat in the freezer; there is a chance of it molding if kept in the fridge and it would be a shame to throw it away.

Thyme Roasted Potatoes
2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters (or in half for smaller potatoes)
2 - 3 Tbsp duck fat, butter, or olive oil
1 tsp coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
Plenty of freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced then mashed into a paste

Preheat the oven to 400F, adjust a rack to the middle position, and line a baking tray with a sheet of foil.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the melted fat or oil (whichever you are using), salt, and pepper.

Scatter the potatoes on a baking tray and arrange all the pieces cut side down. Cover the tray with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, take out the tray and remove the foil. Flip all the potatoes to cut side up. Turn the broiler on and broil for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork or knife. Depending on the strength of your broiler you may need to adjust the potatoes up a rack if they are not browning enough. After about 20 minutes, turn the oven off and remove the potatoes. Sprinkle the thyme over the potatoes and gently toss. Return back to the still warm oven for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heatproof serving bowl, add the pressed or mashed garlic. Add the hot potatoes on top as soon as they come out of the oven. Gently toss to coat the potatoes evenly with the garlic.


kellypea said...

My good friend and I were just talking about duck fat last night...Yum. Totally.

And the tart photo was excellent. I'm thinking the kitchen gods got you because you used dark chocolate. Really. =) Congrats on the completion of the challenge!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I don't use duck fat, but I do roast potatoes in olive oil and thyme -- it's my absolutely favorite way to make potatoes, especially since I have the thyme in my garden.

Mandy said...

I wonder if the guy who sells roast duck in Chinatown knows how precious duck fat is...Maybe I can ask him for some. ;)

Anh said...

I have a bottle of duck fat, too! I used it occasionally, but not too much... Your roasted potatoes look very nice!

pam said...

Wow! Those look good. I've never roasted a duck, but I think I need to try!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Oh! I just saw this in the LA Times last week! How trendy of you. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have a hold gallon of duck fat in my refrigerator right now - I kid you not! I'm getting ready to make a big batch of duck confit. There's nothing so scrumptious as potatoes cooked in duck fat.

SteamyKitchen said...

DUCK FAT!! It's a reason for living.

Amy said...

I agree, the kitchen gods must have seen me use dark chocolate. Tsk tsk, that's what I get for not sticking to the recipe. :( hehehe.

Having thyme in the garden is sooo great! I hope my little thyme plant will make it through the winter when I bring it inside.

Mmm that perfumed duck fat from the roasted ducks would make a delicious confit. But you don't want any old, sketchy fat that's been hanging around for too long. ;)

Thanks! A little bit does go a long way with duck fat.

I'm going to roast more ducks this winter. Didn't get the skin crispy enough last time.

Hehe I just googled for the article. I feel quite hip. :D

A gallon! I need that so I can make some confit too... mmm...

It's right up there with dark chocolate and bacon! :D

Patricia Scarpin said...

I am sooooo making these potatoes, Amy - gotta look for some duck fat, you've got me curious about it!

Mari said...

Amy, have you tried goose fat?

Amy said...

You'll love it and never look back!

No I haven't but I hear it's equally good.

Anonymous said...

"duck fat is liquid gold"

Boy, you ain't just a-whistlin' Dixie there, girlfriend. It and bacon grease make life worth living.

Anonymous said...

Me again, hun. It also makes the BEST GRAVY in THIS WORLD - nothing else like it; but you probably already know that by now.

Lord, I am trying to locate some right now to buy. Going to try your roast potatoes recipe soon as I locate some.


Anonymous said...

Is duck fat better than goose fat then? Both are definitely better than olive oil I think...


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