Fancy French Fondant Potatoes are a buttery, herb crusted, elegant French technique of roasting a potato.
“Once cooked, they are creamy on the inside with a crunchy golden edge on the outside.“
Is it possible for a potato to wow you with the most amazing flavor, texture and presentation?
Of course, we are always looking for new recipes for the potato, and finally a few great fondant potato recipes are being considered as a ‘great recipe’ for the potato.
This recipe has long been considered a classic French side dish, and so why not a great American side dish as well!
While I am not so well versed in French cuisine, I learned this technique for the master.
Let’s be honest, the humble potato is delicious, no matter how they are prepared, and quite easy to grow!
And while there are endless ways to prepare a potato, they are often not fancy:
- Tossed in with the family Sunday roast.
- Become potato pieces hidden in chicken pot pies or other meat pies.
- Let’s not forget summertime’s favorite potato salad.
- An all-in-one favorite meal is the twice cooked potato, with anything and everything inside.
- Or mashed in creamy potatoes, of which I often add to a soup base to thicken.
Another Fancy Classic French Dish For The Potato
The good news about preparing a fancy potato dish for special occasions, such as wedding receptions or Christmas dinner, is that there are two potato recipes that are the right size to fit on the plate, and still look elegant.
These two are, the fondant potatoes recipe and another favorite, called a Dauphinoise potato.
The difference is that the fondant potato is created to stand alone, and doesn’t use a sauce to cover its attractive cylindrical shapes.
While a dauphinoise potato recipe is multiple thin layers, stacked, cooked in a cream sauce; then for a fancy presentation, a round cookie cutter is used to shape them into individual servings.
How To Make Fancy French Fondant Potatoes
Your best friend, in making the fondant potato, is going to be a large cast iron skillet!
The best type of potato to use, will be large russet potatoes or several Yukon gold potatoes.
Once the potatoes are trimmed, to give them a more cylinder shape, they need some of the starch removed for a crisper finish when cooked.
An important step is to soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for twenty minutes, or over night, and pat dry thoroughly when ready to cook.
The cooking method is easy; golden sear on the flat surface of the potato tops and bottoms, in oil and butter or clarified butter.
Olive oil is not recommended since the heat of the pan will smoke the olive oil.
Once a golden sear is obtained, the cast iron pan goes right into the oven to finish roasting.
- Russet Potatoes
- Canola or Sunflower oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Thyme
- Cast iron pan – preferably
- Large bowl – to soak potato slices
- Kitchen towel – to dry potatoes
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Metal spatula
- Sauce pan – to warm the broth
- Stove top or burner
- Hot oven
Fancy French Fondant Potatoes
- Large cast iron pan
- 4 Large russet or Yukon potatoes
- 2 tbsp Canola or sunflower oil heat tolerant oil
- 2-3 tbsp Butter duck fat can also be used
- Salt and black pepper to taste to taste
- 1/2 cup Broth chicken or vegetable, warmed
- Sprigs of thyme or rosemary several
- Preheat oven to 400ºF
- Cut a flat side to each end of the potatoes. Stand it on one end and cut the skin off, rather than peel, with the intention of making the potato appear to be a long cylinder, cut into three pieces, which will look like large scallops, once cooked. Soak the cut potatoes in an airtight container of cold water with 1 teaspoon of salt, for at least 20 minutes (or over night).
- When ready to prepare, rinse the starch from the potatoes and dry well on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste.
- In a hot skillet, place the oil, several tablespoons of butter, fresh thyme sprigs and the flat side of the potatoes and cook enough to get a great sear on the bottom. Using a pair of tongs, turn the potatoes upside down to sear the tops of the potatoes to look the same, about 5 minutes on the tops and bottoms. Use a spoon to drizzle the hot butter over the potatoes while browning.
- Turn off the stove top, pour hot chicken broth or vegetable stock into the pan and pop it into the preheated oven quickly, no lid. Bake for about 25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes to make sure the broth has not totally evaporated. If it has, add a few tablespoon more warm broth, but it should be good. After 25 minutes, take the pan out and let the potatoes rest 5-6 minutes before serving. Garnish with a few more thyme sprigs.