Luxurious and utterly delicious, fondant potatoes are a great way to make roast potatoes just that extra little bit special. These golden gems are a staple of French cuisine and can be found in fine-dining restaurants, traditional bistros and on family dinner tables across France.
Each glistening morsel's crunchy, slightly chewy crust gives way to a magical melt-in-the-mouth interior. We know you and your family are going to love them.
A key element that sets these apart from other roast potatoes is their melty, creamy centre. To achieve this, it’s important to use waxy potatoes, rather than floury. Floury potatoes produce a fluffy internal result, which is perfectly pleasant for your average roast potatoes, but isn’t what we’re looking for in fondant potatoes.
The most common waxy varieties in Australia are Kipfler or Dutch Cream potatoes. Other good varieties are Charlotte or Nicola potatoes. If you are buying from a greengrocer or farmer’s market, ask the salespeople for advice on the best waxy potato they have on offer.
Like in all good French dishes, you must embrace the fat when it comes to fondant potatoes. The fondant’s rich, crisp, gooey texture relies on generous amounts of olive oil and salted butter, so use the best fats you can find to make this extra special.
Olive oil is used first, crisping up the potatoes without burning the butter. To ensure the final flavour is all about the balance of creamy butter and potato, it’s best to use a light-flavoured olive oil rather than a heady, robust-flavoured oil. Butter-wise, we encourage using the best quality salted butter you can find, however we will leave this in your hands.
This is where the magic really happens. When you think about it, hunks of potato require liquid to cook through completely. While you could use water, the fondant potatoes will gain extra depth of flavour with chicken stock. Store-bought stock is adequate, however making your own chicken stock or bone broth is a satisfying, scrap-using project that produces a far superior stock than store bought alternatives. Try our recipe for 24 Hour Chicken Bone Broth which can be frozen or preserved ahead of time.
Our recipe embraces Provençal flavour by incorporating French Lavender Salt for a subtle aromatic touch which complements the richness of the potatoes wonderfully. If you want to keep things classic, garlic, rosemary, thyme and bay are more traditional additions.
The cooking method
Finally, take your time with fondant potatoes. The love that you give to them whilst cooking will really show in the final dish. Be patient, and ensure your potatoes are really crisp with a dark, golden colour on both sides before transferring them to the oven. Don’t be afraid to cook them for slightly longer than might feel comfortable – of course, with that said, do make sure to remove them before they burn.
If you find the stock starts to run low whilst they are in the oven, you can top them up with some more stock or even a dash of water, just to stop them from sticking to the pan.