What are fondant potatoes?
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Fondant potatoes are simple and elegant. They are more common in Europe, particularly England. They are cylinder or barrel-like in their shape and have a light brown glaze for colour. They are creamy inside and somewhat crispy on the outside.
Traditionally they were cooked in duck fat but now the cooking process usually involves olive oil.
The term "fondant" is a little unclear. If you ask different chefs, you'll get different answers. For instance, at Charingworth Manor in the English countryside, its chef will explain that fondant means "cooked in their own juices."
Shapes of fondant potatoes
Preparing fondant potatoes (also referred to as "turned potatoes") takes patience and skill. They may be peeled or unpeeled but are most commonly peeled. The top of the potato is cut in a straight line to make a flat surface. The same cut is made to the bottom of the potato. The potato is then turned so the sides are evenly carved to make a uniform cylinder or barrel shape. When cooked, they will be able to stand up in a pan.
Types of potatoes that work best
Medium-sized potatoes with yellow flesh are best. It is also best to purchase the freshest potatoes possible, possibly ones from a local farmer's market, for example.
Ways to cook fondant potatoes
Most fondant potatoes are traditionally cooked in chicken broth (or duck fat), butter and thyme. Garlic may also be added. They are cooked over low to medium heat until the liquid turns into a syrup-like glaze. This will take about 30 minutes. At this point, they are transferred to the oven in a baking dish while the glaze is spooned over them. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes at 175 degrees C for them to turn golden brown. They should be crisp, not crunchy. They can also be made 1 day ahead of time.
What to serve with fondant potatoes
Fondant potatoes make a perfect accompaniment to most any dish. A beef roast or steak will benefit. They also go well with game, such as rabbit or venison. Free-range chicken and fish are also an option. They add an elegant touch to any meal.
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