Molly Yeh's 2-Step Approach For Perfect Roast Potatoes

There are certain things that make home cooks' ears perk up. Tips on how to perfect classic dishes are near the top of that list. And when those tips make turning out a rock star dish every time simple and easy to understand, you can almost guarantee people will be interested.

Take, for instance, roasted vegetables, a classic side item — or even a healthy main — that lends a variety of colors, textures, nutrients, and flavors to a meal. To properly caramelize vegetables, you need focused high heat, which can be found in an unexpected spot: below the bottom rack on the floor of the oven. Another example is quiche, which can be creamy and delicate or dry and rubbery, depending on how it is treated. If you're aiming for the former — and you should be — try a simple addition that adds richness and helps emulsify: mayonnaise.

Tips like the above will find an audience any time of year, but if ever there is a time when those who love to cook have their sense heightened for helpful hints, it's during the holiday season. Anything that helps expedite or improve the meal prep process without sacrificing flavor is welcome.

Potatoes are a staple of the holiday table, and there's no shortage of variations. There is something quite satisfying about hearty and stout roast potatoes, and cookbook author and star of Food Network star, Molly Yeh, has a method that yields crunchy yet luscious potatoes every time.

A quick boil builds crunch

Yeh, who shared her recipe with USA Today, starts with red potatoes, which she scrubs and dices into cubes which she boils until just tender. It might seem antithetical to boil a roasted potato, but the step is crucial as it creates a layer of starch on the exterior. Once drained, the potato cubes begin to dry as surface moisture evaporates, leaving behind a layer of gelatinized starch. This starch layer is what, after a half hour or so turn in a 450-degree oven, jackets the potatoes in a toothsome crunch. Yeh also offers up a quick paprika mayonnaise recipe to accompany, but almost any sauce — or no sauce — would be fine with these as the star of the show is that crisp exterior.

The idea of a par-cooked potato that is given the moist heat treatment until just done through and then finished in radiant or direct heat is also what's behind one of our other favorite potato preps. Our Spanish-style potatoes employ peeled Yukon golds, boiled and then finished in a pan with olive oil, parsley, flaky sea salt, butter, garlic, and a final dusting of lemon zest for brightness. And, if you have any of Yeh's potatoes left over and you're looking to repurpose their crunchy goodness, consider pairing them with sweet corn, smoked Gouda, and a hint of maple syrup in this luxurious chowder.