Photos by Olive & Mango
Fondant potatoes — a classic French technique of cooking potatoes — sound sorta fancy, but they’re nothing more than large rounds of russet potatoes that are browned in butter and roasted in the oven with stock and butter. The results are golden spuds that are crisp on the outside and practically melting in the middle. (Which is why chefs often refer to them as “melting potatoes.”) The stock and butter combine into a rich pan sauce that gets spooned over the potatoes for a seriously impressive side dish.
Don’t be intimidated by the sound of that — they take less than one hour to make and use humble ingredients you might already have on hand. They also come together using just one pan, making cleanup a breeze. Once you get the basic technique down, you’ll be able to make them in no time at all.
3 Tips for Making Restaurant-Quality Fondant Potatoes at Home
Before you head into the kitchen to make these golden beauties, keep these tips in mind.
1. When shopping for your potatoes, pick out spuds that are all the same size. You want potatoes that are consistently shaped and round in the center. This will make sure they all cook at the same time, and that you don’t end up with pieces that are under- or over-cooked.
2. Carve out enough time to soak the cut potatoes in cold water before cooking them. A 20-minute soak is all you need to remove some of the excess starch from the potatoes, which helps the outside get nice and crisp. You could also do this overnight to save yourself some time the day of. Just store the potatoes in a large bowl of water covered in plastic wrap in the fridge.
3. Add aromatics. Adding aromatics such as garlic, fresh herbs, and whole spices to the pan as they roast infuses the potatoes with flavor — transforming them from a humble side dish into something seriously impressive. We used garlic and thyme in this recipe, but feel free to use any combination of fresh hearty herbs you have on hand, such as rosemary, sage, or oregano.
Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 4 medium russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
- 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Peel 4 russet potatoes. Trim the ends, then cut each potato in half crosswise. You should now have 8 flat potato rounds. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature to remove excess potato starch. Meanwhile, heat the oven and prepare the garlic and butter.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly smash and peel 3 garlic cloves. Cut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into 8 pieces.
Drain the potatoes, rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Season the potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes cut-side down in a single layer and cook until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip the potatoes using tongs and add the garlic, butter, and 4 sprigs thyme. (If the potatoes are sticking to the pan, let them cook 2 to 3 minutes more until they easily release before flipping.) Cook until the butter is foaming and starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth.
Bake until the potatoes are fork tender and lightly browned on the sides, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with more whole thyme sprigs before serving, drizzled with the pan juices.
Herb options: You can use any combination of fresh hearty herbs, such as rosemary, sage, or oregano instead of the thyme.
Make ahead: The potatoes can be peeled, cut, and refrigerated in water up to 2 days in advance.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.