Never, have I ever, seen fondant potatoes on a restaurant menu. But on cooking shows they seem quite common.
So much so that after watching children make fondant potatoes on my favorite show, Masterchef Junior, I knew I finally had to make them.
So what are they exactly? They are a russet potato cut into a barrel shape, browned in butter and oil, then cooked in broth.
So nothing fancy, really, but they’re crispy on the outside, rich and luxurious on the inside, and look good on a plate.
So here’s what I did, based on this recipe, from The Hairy Bikers.
3 large Russet potatoes
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 ounces grapeseed oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
Fresh or dried thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the ends of the potatoes off. Stand the potato upright and, using a flexible paring knife, cut off the peels, forming multiple ridges around the potato.
Lay the potato on the cutting board and slice crosswise in half. Continue with the remaining 2 potatoes; you will have 6 barrels.
Place the barrels in cold water for 5 minutes to get rid of some starchiness. Dry them well with paper towels.
Heat the butter and oil over high heat in a heavy skillet. Using tongs, add the barrel potatoes to the butter and oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Turn down the flame to medium-high, and let the potato ends brown.
Meanwhile, have the chicken stock simmering on the stove, or somehow heated.
When the ends of the potatoes have browned, turn them over and repeat the browning, adding a little more salt and pepper, adjusting the heat as necessary.
When the ends of the potatoes are browned, pour in the hot chicken stock – carefully.
Place the skillet in the preheated oven and let the potatoes cook for about 45 minutes.
When done, the potatoes should be nice and crispy on the outside but tender and fully cooked on the inside.
Place the potato barrels on a serving plate, and drizzle on the remaining butter-oil mixture, if you don’t mind that sort of thing. Sprinkle with thyme leaves.
Often a few sprigs of fresh thyme are in the butter while the potatoes are browning, but I opted for dried thyme.
Sneak a taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
I made these potatoes for a steak dinner, and I now know that I will be making them again – with or without the steak.
Note: The ends of my potatoes burnt a little, as you can tell in the photos, and the burning occurred in the oven. I didn’t mind the flavor but I don’t think they’re supposed to brown that much. I went through a lot of recipes to get an idea of how to make fondant potatoes, and some required the oven to be heated to 425 degrees F. I lowered the temp to 400 degrees F, but when I make these again, I’ll use a 375 degree oven.