Frico (crispy cheese) roast potatoes
Adding parmesan to roast potatoes is nothing new, but every time I’ve made roast potatoes with cheese I’ve been too stingy, so the result makes me question out loud where the cheese went. Turns out the solution is to go totally overboard, to the point where you get a nice tailcoat of properly, noisily crunchy cheese layer that clings to each chunk of potato, promising pure rapturous joy with every bite. These do require some patience, so I’d suggest a pretty simple, light salad to help offset the crazy richness.
Frico roast potatoes
a guide to make as many as will fit roomily on your largest baking tray
You start off with good fluffy roasting potatoes*. Wash and cut them into nice large chunks about 4-5cm (that’s over an inch). Pop them into a saucepan and cover the bottom 3cmish (about an inch) with water. Pop the lid on (a nice fitting one to maximise steam). Preheat oven to 200C (400F), with a rack arranged at the top. If you’re baking two trays you’ll need to swap them around half way through.
Bring potatoes to a rapid boil from cold on max heat, then reduce head to low to let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until a knife slides in to a piece of potato easy.
While the potatoes simmer, finely grate more parmesan than you think you’ll reasonably need (enough to completely coat each piece of potato remember). Prepare a few cubes of butter or ghee too. Drain completely, pop back into the dry pot, sprinkle over the cheese, a nice few grinds of black pepper or pinch or herbs, and the butter cubes (I also added salt but felt this was probably overkill with all the cheese). Cover and shake the pan almost like a cocktail (so, holding on the lid for dear life), but circular-ly so the bottom potatoes get some cheesy action. Tip the potatoes onto your baking tray and arrange them as spread out as possible – the potatoes must be on a single layer and have around 1cm between pieces or they won’t crisp.
Bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes to let the cheese fully crispen and to avoid sad burnage.
*My favourite in Sydney so far are the blue moon/royal blue potatoes. They have an amplified potato flavour, and even the crappy supermarket version turn out beautifully every time. Plus they’re definitely sort of floury but not mealy, and form a nice crisp layer when boiled first, with or without copious amounts of cheese.