Roasted potatoes are an ideal accompaniment to many different main course dishes. When cooking roast potatoes, some of the most important things to consider include pan size, potato type, and the ingredients and seasonings that work well with the rest of the meal. Depending on the potato variety used, some soaking or advanced preparation may be required when working with roast potatoes. Roasting time and temperature can be adjusted as needed when roast potatoes are being prepared alongside other items in the oven.
The pan used for cooking roast potatoes should be oven safe and large enough to hold all the potatoes in a single layer. Ceramic, metal, or glass pans all work well for cooking roast potatoes, provided they are the correct size for the amount of potatoes being cooked. Adding a small amount of vegetable oil to the pan prior to cooking will keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of a glass or ceramic pan. Pans coated with a non-stick surface don't require additional oil to prevent sticking or burning.
The type of tuber used for cooking roast potatoes plays a role in the success of the dish as well. Potato varieties that are primarily for boiling usually work best for roasting. Some advanced preparation is usually required if baking potatoes, including russets and other large, starchy tubers, are used, because baking potatoes have a high starch content and may not brown or hold their shape well. Multipurpose potatoes are also considered a good choice for roasting.
Cutting the potatoes into chunks or slices prior to cooking will help them cook evenly. Baking or multipurpose potato types should be soaked or boiled prior to roasting; soaking eliminates some of the excess starch and promotes browning in the finished potatoes. Boiling any type of potatoes for about 10 minutes before roasting will speed the process along and help the potatoes cook evenly. Choosing extras like spices, herbs, and salt based on personal taste and other items served will help the finished dish work well with the menu or meal.
Most recipes for cooking roast potatoes call for some form of fat. Heating the fat in the roasting pan before adding the potatoes will help seal the potatoes and prevent sticking. Tossing the potatoes in the sizzling fat will also distribute the fat and other ingredients evenly and help promote better cooking. Checking the potatoes as they cook will prevent over-browning or burning.