Extra-Crispy Parmesan-Crusted Roasted Potatoes
These potatoes combine the fluffy interior and crispy exterior of the best roasted potatoes with the crunchy cheese crust of Detroit-style pizza. The initial boil with aromatics adds herbal flavor to the potatoes, without the potential of burned herbs in the final roast, while baking soda in the water helps soften the surface of the potato, releasing starch. This starch combines with Parmesan and melted butter to form a flavorful slurry that crisps up and coats each potato chunk in a cheesy shell.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks
- ½teaspoon baking soda
- 2tablespoons kosher salt, or 1 tablespoon table salt
- 4dried bay leaves, preferably Turkish
- 1tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 6whole garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 3to 4 thyme or rosemary sprigs, or a mix
- 3tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2ounces finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 425 degrees, or 400 degrees if using convection. (Convection is recommended, if available.) Combine potato chunks, 2 quarts water, baking soda and salt in a large saucepan.
Step 2Cut a 10-by-10-inch square out of cheesecloth and place bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic cloves and herb sprigs in the center. Gather up the corners of the cloth into a pouch, and tie off with butcher's twine. Add bundle to the pot with potatoes, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until you can poke a knife into a larger chunk of potato without any resistance, about 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil.
Step 3Drain potatoes in a colander and discard aromatic bundle. Line a 13-by-18-inch rimmed aluminum baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 4Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add melted butter and Parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss and fold with a rubber spatula until Parmesan, butter and starch form a slurry over the surface of the potatoes, about 30 seconds. Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and spread out so they are mostly separated from one another. (At this point, they can be allowed to cool, then transferred to a sealed container and stored in the refrigerator until ready to roast.)
Step 5Transfer baking sheet to oven and roast potatoes until pale golden brown and sizzling on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Flip potatoes using a thin metal spatula and continue roasting until crisp and blond-gold on most sides, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. (Check frequently toward the end, and don't allow the potatoes to cook beyond a deep gold, or they will turn bitter.)
Step 6Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a serving platter.