Crispy potatoes is my favorite potato recipe, perfect for a Sunday supper or a quick, if indulgent, weeknight dinner. Duck fat makes these potatoes transcendent, so use it if you have some on hand (like, maybe if you made duck pan-seared duck breasts). If you don’t, butter is fine.
This is a riff on Julia Child’s sautéed potatoes, but it takes the potatoes closer to fries. Another installment of my amateur video series included in the recipe.
Me and Samwise Gamgee
Me and Samwise Gamgee, we love po-ta-toes. Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, sauté them in duck fat. Deceptively simple, the humble spud turns transcendent when treated with respect.
And, when it is not, the potato exacts its revenge. Scrooge originally attributed Jacob Marley’s presence to “a fragment of underdone potato.” The mere possibility that a spud could conjure up a spirit gives you an idea of what can happen when you mistreat it.
A riff of a recipe
Julia Child treated potatoes with respect, and this recipe for crispy potatoes riffs on her recipe for sautéed potatoes. Spuds love fat and salt, and this riff ups both, using the method from Julia’s recipe to infuse flavor, but taking the side closer to fries.
By combining a quick sauté to sear the potatoes, with a longer steam that also browns and crisps the potatoes (it really works, even though that might sound weird), this technique perfects getting a crisp potato that’s also flavorful without having to parboil. The increased fat in this recipe crisps the potatoes more, but the genius technique is all Julia.
Got duck fat? Make crispy potatoes!
Whenever I have it, I use duck fat to make crispy potatoes. If you’ve never tasted duck fat potatoes before, you’re in for a treat. Don’t have any duck fat? You can buy it at specialty stores, or, you can get your own if you make pan-seared duck breasts and save the fat. If you don’t have duck fat, use butter, and you will still have a tasty treat.
Recipe and video below.
- Skillet with a lid that holds all the potatoes in a single layer without being too crowded. See note
- 4-5 oz yellow potatoes I used new potatoes for the photos, but if you have larger potatoes, not to worry. Just cut them up into smaller pieces. See note.
- 2 tsp duck fat or butter Duck fat makes for the tastiest potatoes, but butter is also delicious.
- 2 tsp safflower oil (or other vegetable oil) You want an oil that can take a lot of heat without scorching. Don't use olive oil.
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- parsley, chopped To serve
- Peel the potatoes. Use a paper towel to make sure that they are very dry before they go into the fat
- Heat up the fat in the skillet until it's shimmering. Test it with one of the potatoes. If you get the sizzle, add the rest. If not, wait and test again
- Add all the potatoes and stir them to coat them. Cook for a few minutes, turning them until you get a fairly even coating of film on the potatoes. They will not be brown yet. The film keeps them from sticking to the bottom
- Reduce the heat to low. Add a generous pinch of salt, stir, and then cover to steam.
- Check every few minutes, stirring to make sure that they cook evenly. Be careful lifting the lid, as things will sputter. Adjust the heat if you need to in order to avoid having the potatoes stick. They will brown as they cook. Add another pinch of salt when the potatoes start to brown
- Keep checking the color and start testing for doneness by piercing one of the potatoes with a fork. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, finish browning to your taste
- When finished cooking, transfer to serving dish, garnish with parsley. Have some flaky sea salt on hand, if necessary. See note