I picked up a pound of frozen duck fat at Ted's Butcherblock on Saturday. This may sound like a rather mundane event, but for me it was an important step forward. I've been meaning to go out and get my hands on some good duck fat for months, but for one reason or another I never seem to think about driving down to Ted's until it's Sunday afternoon, and the shop is closed on Sundays.
This past Saturday I finally managed to make it by, and this purchase has now allowed me to perfect the art of roasting potatoes.
For years roasted potatoes have been one of my absolute favorite side items. I make them at least once a week, and they go so well with so many different entrees, from basic roasted chicken to veal marsala to braised pork chops. Recently I've been tinkering with my old favorite recipe--nothing radical, just a few slight variations that make a great dish even better.
The key changes? Slice the potatoes thinner and cook them a little hotter. Rather than cutting the potatoes into inch-thick chunks (which usually meant quartering small baby red potatoes), I now cut them into about 1/2 inch slices. And now the most important improvement of all: roast them in duck fat.
The rest of the prep is simple--drizzle with about two tablespoons of melted duck fat, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and chopped parsely. Lately, I've been roasting them at 425 degrees (rather than 350 degrees), and I stir and turn them more often--about once every ten minutes (I use my kitchen timer to remind me.)
I don't know what it is about the duck fat that adds so much to the potatoes, but they seem to come out just a little crispier and a little more tender on the inside and with a great punch of flavor that you don't get with olive oil or even chicken fat. Magnificence.