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 the goods

1 lg potato per person

1 dessert spoon flour

2 taspoons salt

fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup oil or fat

hot paprika (optional)


  • active: 15 minutes
  • total: 1 hr

you will need:

  • large saucepan
  • vegetable peeler 
  • large baking dish

serve with: 

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crispy rosemary potatoes

the science of the spud:

a potato is pretty much pure starch. most of us know that, which is why these humble fellows have become the pariahs of the no-carb millennium

anyway, the crisp factor of a spud relies on the surface starch being sealed by hot fat ASAP. this allows the centre of the spud to steam to a fluffy perfection whilst the outside just keeps getting crunchier

so the factors that go into the perfect spud are as follows:

  • choose a nice, floury potato. russett potatoes are great. peel them for maximum crunch
  • good fat or oil maximises the crunch, nigella lawson put me onto goose fat as the perfect cooking medium, but it is not easy to find. I like using lamb fat or peanut oil. olive oil doesn't give me the crunch factor that I crave. have the fat hot when you put the spuds in. this seals the surface instantly
  • par-boil the spuds so that when you toss them around in the seasoning, the surfaces scuff a's science: the greater the surface area, the more crunch you get

pre-heat: oven to 475f / 250c

peel the potatoes and slice them into quarters or even sixths. slice them into equal sizes

par boil them in salted water for about 8 minutes or zap them in the microwave (in a little water) for about 4 minutes

place the oil in the baking dish and let it get hot in the oven

toss the flour, salt, pepper, a fistful of torn rosemary leaves and paprika (if using) into a plastic bag

drain the spuds, put them into the bag with the seasoning and give the bag a good toss

put the spuds in the baking dish (careful not to splatter yourself with hot fat). give them a nudge with some tongs so that they get covered in fat

bake 25 minutes, turn them, bake another 10-15 minutes until crispy golden

you can add more rosemary or garlic cloves to the pan if you wish