Fondant potatoes are often considered quite fancy, and if you worry too much about tradition then they can be quite hard to master. They are an absolute classic in French cookery, and something you’ll see the length and breadth of the country, but they are surprisingly rare on menus this side of the channel, even though they seem to pop up on MasterChef more often than not!
It’s a really versatile dish, because you can swap around the fats and liquids to suit the star of the dish. Just as incredible with a rich beef stock as they are with a light fish bouillon. Stick to just olive oil for a lighter version… although I’m afraid these are never going to be considered particularly healthy.
Easy Fondant Potatoes
- large heavy based frying pan
- roasting dish
- 800 g potatoes classically a waxy potato like Desiree, but works well with variety really
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 300 g butter
- 1 tbsp duck fat optional
- 800 ml chicken stock stock pots work well for this
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Peel the potatoes, then cut in half laterally. Traditionally, these would be turned into barrels, or cut into circles, but it's far easier to leave as they are, reduces waste, and they just taste better!Heat the oil in the frying pan over a high heat (make sure it covers the whole base by swirling the pan), then add the potatoes, flat side down. Add in the garlic, thyme, half the butter and duck fat if using. Season generously, and continue to fry until the flat side is golden brown.
- Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas mark 4. Transfer the potatoes to the roasting dish, along with the garlic, thyme and all the fat from the frying pan. Add the stock to the pan, so that it comes to just under the top of the potatoes.Dot the remaining butter over the top of the potatoes.Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until a dark golden brown, tender right through, and the stock has all but disappeared.Serve, and enjoy!