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For the Crispiest, Crackliest Roasted Potatoes, You Need Egg Whites

Tossing baby potatoes in egg whites before roasting means you’ll have crispy-crackly spuds—in record time.


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Photo of egg white crispy roasted potatoes on a baking sheet.
Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Erika Joyce

I’ve spent most of my adult life being wary of roasted potato recipes. I love crispy roasted potatoes (I am human, after all), but after trying my fair share of methods, I’ve come to the conclusion that if a recipe tells me those spuds will be fully cooked and deliciously crispy in any duration of less than 45 minutes, it is probably lying to me.

Truth is, getting potatoes to become tender on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside usually takes quite a bit of time and patience—and I don’t have extra of either.

Recently, though, I came across a recipe that reignited my roasted potato optimism: Dan Kluger’s Crispy Salt and Pepper Potatoes from Chasing Flavor: Techniques and Recipes to Cook Fearlessly. Here, the most important factor in cooking the potatoes isn’t time or a pan-intensive combination of boiling and roasting methods. Instead, what matters is the type of potato and the addition of one special ingredient: egg whites.

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Chasing Flavor: Techniques and Recipes to Cook Fearlessly by Dan Kluger and Nick Fauchald. Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.

In this recipe, Kluger tosses very small new—also called young or baby—potatoes in whipped egg whites before seasoning the mix and putting it all in the oven. After roasting for about 20 minutes, the flesh of these bite-size potatoes becomes tender and the skin becomes crispy-crackly. Kluger describes them as a “different kind of crispy, a delicate crispy; like little starch balloons that pop when you bite into them.”

Tossing the potatoes in egg whites has two benefits here: It adds an extra layer of crispness to each potato’s skin, and also helps the seasoning stick, making the potatoes even more flavorful.

“The egg whites help to create an herby, salt-and-pepper coating on the potatoes,” Kluger explained to me on the phone. “As they roast, the water evaporates from the egg whites and you’re left with a certain crispness.”

These crispy roasted potatoes are so delicious and so convenient that I’ve made them in the middle of the day as a quick work-from-home lunch multiple times this month—and I implore you to do the same. All you need to do is whip two egg whites, using a whisk, in a bowl until they’re foamy (and there’s no liquid remaining in the bowl). Add the potatoes and toss them until they’re well-coated. Then put the coated potatoes in a strainer and discard the excess egg whites.

Once you’ve coated and strained the potatoes, season them with salt and pepper, plus freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Spread the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast them for about 20 minutes.

According to Kluger, the technique works best with truly tiny new potatoes, because their skin is thin and crisps up easily. If you can’t find new potatoes, he recommends using the smallest potatoes you can find—like fingerling, red bliss, or butterball. You may need to cook them a little longer, depending on size.

And if you have larger potatoes, like russets, on hand, you could follow the same process after slicing your potatoes into wedges or smaller pieces. If you go this way, Kluger says that “you’ll still get the amazing flavor from the herby coating, but you won’t get the same crispy popping effect.”

That minimal prep work (and a quick cooking time) means I’ll definitely be looking for new potatoes come Thanksgiving...and probably for many lunches and dinners before then too.

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This post originally appeared on Epicurious and was published November 1, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.

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