Is this the secret to the perfect roast potato?

Is this the secret to the perfect roast potato? Asda development chef says adding a store cupboard ingredient is key (and turning every five minutes!)

  • Asda ‘s Senior Innovation Chef, Rich Harding, revealed tricks for perfect roasties
  • READ MORE:  Asda’s £28 Vintage Brut tops Good Housekeeping’s Champagne taste test for Christmas

Popping them in the air fryers, smothering them in goose fat,  leaving the skin on, many people claim to have the secret to cooking up the perfect roast potato at Christmas.

But now Asda’s development chef has claimed to have the ultimate secret to the perfect roastie – adding a touch of flour and salting the water for ultimate crispiness.

The technique is sure to delight households across the UK this winter. 

Speaking to FEMAIL,  Asda’s Senior Innovation Chef, Rich Harding, added that the right variety of potato is also very important. 

‘Make sure you’re using the correct potato, a fluffy variety like Maris piper and King Edward is best,’ he explained.

‘Par boil the potatoes from cold salted water, then cook them until they are more than half cooked but not quite mashable. 

Asda’s development chef has claimed to have the ultimate secret to the perfect roastie – adding a touch of flour and salting the water (stock image)

‘When draining in the colander use a fork to fluff up the edges, to achieve that desired crispiness.’

He adds that next, in the so-called  ‘fluffing stage’ , it’s essential to add a tablespoon of flour or semolina to help with extra crispness.   

‘This is also a good time to add flaked sea salt or even Asda’s new Cook by Asda Roast Potato Seasoning. 

‘Then get the oven tray with your choice of fat screaming hot, I start my oven off at around 230C.

‘Options like goose fat and duck fat are great for flavour, but vegetable oil or sunflower oil are absolutely fine as long as they are really hot.

‘After about 15 minutes turn the oven down to 180C, pop your potatoes in and keep turning the potatoes with a spatula every 5 minutes or so until the desired colour and crispness is achieved.’

Roasties are the most popular side on a Christmas dinner, according to a recent YouGov survey, beating pigs in blankets. 

 The trusty spud has even become popular with Gen Z, with their favoured social media platform getting filled with videoes on how to make the perfect roastie.

Roasties are the most popular side on a Christmas dinner, according to a recent YouGov survey, beating pigs in blankets (stock image)

Key to the perfect roasties 

1.  Pick Maris piper and King Edward potatoes

2.  Par boil the potatoes from cold salted water

3. Fluff up the edges with a fork

4. Add flour or semolina and seasoning

5. Get fat steaming hot

6. Turn every five minutes 

Tiktok sensation Poppy O’Toole, who goes by Poppy Cooks, is sharing 24 Days of Christmas Potatoes on her social channels each day throughout December.

Whilst The Heal Chef’s recipe video for roast potatoes coated in a rosemary and garlic butter has racked up over 19m views and 2.4m likes. 

Similarly Miso Jen Kitchen’s video has had 25m views and 2.1m likes as she shows followers how to achieve the desired crispiness. 

For other twists, to achieve maximum flavour, Rich recommends: ‘You could also par boil the potatoes in vegetable or chicken stock, for added flavour. 

‘If you’re roasting your potatoes in vegetable or sunflower oil, I like to add a good knob of butter for the last 10 minutes or so. 

‘You could also add a tablespoon of marmite to the tray and toss the potatoes in it once melted.’

#Potato has 12.3 billion views on TikTok where social media users also use hashtags like #Potatok and #PotatoTikTok. 

The rise of ‘loaded’ roast potatoes was identified in Asda’s Trend Book 23/24 and sales of the humble ingredient have increased 12 per cent year on year. 

Rich says, ‘we’re seeing customers treating them more as a centre plate and topping them with flavourful sauces and sprinkles, such as toasted yeast mayo, chipotle

Young Masterchef judge Poppy O’Toole reveals her simple method for making the PERFECT Sunday roast

TikTok chef, author and Young Masterchef judge Poppy O’Toole began making recipe videos at the start of the pandemic after losing her job, moving back in with her parents and becoming frustrated that her siblings were paying her no attention.

Three years later, she has 4.1 million followers, countless TV appearances and has even trekked around Peru, helping to raise almost £200,000 for charity Action Against Hunger.

Yet she still makes TikToks from home and focuses on the humble foods Britons love: roast potatoes, hash browns and the classic Sunday lunch.

She is set to take the internet by storm again this summer after partnering with supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to share new recipes that Brits can use to take their roast game to a new level – even in scorching heat.

MailOnline held an exclusive interview with Poppy to hear all about the perfect summer roast – and how she turned being made redundant into becoming one of the most famous chefs in the UK.

TikTok chef, author and Young Masterchef judge Poppy O’Toole has more than four million followers on TikTok alone

She has now created the perfect summer roast – including pork chops, lemon potatoes and confit tomatoes

Poppy is a huge fan of the Sunday roast – and has taken pride in creating content to help her millions of fans up their own game. But now she wants to take it further. 

Citing research by Censuswide for Sainsbury’s, she told MailOnline she too is seeing a demand for lighter versions of a roast dinner.

She said: ‘Weirdly, when I was a kid I never used to like roast dinners because they were on a Sunday so I knew I had to go to school tomorrow.

‘As I am now a fully-fledged adult, one of my favourite times of the week is getting ready for a roast dinner. Thinking that people don’t have them in summer, and for them to be deprived of that because it’s warm outside – it’s just wrong.’

The main event of the lighter roast, which Poppy has come up with in collaboration with Sainsbury’s, is not a whole joint of meat – instead, pork chops with nduja butter, which can be bought ready to cook from UK stores.

Simply fry the chops on each side for one minute, then oven cook for 12 minutes before adding the nduja butter and cooking for another two. 

Poppy said the nduja chops ‘have this Mediterranean-y sort of flavour, which you don’t really have with a roast dinner.’

She paired them with slow-roasted confit tomatoes – a simple recipe which involves baking the tomatoes with garlic and fresh thyme.

The chef’s recipe says to combine 250ml of oil, two tbsp of balsamic vinegar one tbsp of salt and two tsp of sugar, before adding chopped garlic, fresh thyme to a dish with the tomatoes and pouring over the oil mixture. Then bake at a low heat for 90 minutes. 

The self-confessed Queen of potatoes recommends switching out heavy, fat-roasted potatoes for lemon-roasted instead as a lighter, more summery alternative.

Poppy says to boil the potatoes for around 15 minutes before leaving them to air dry.

Next, toss the spuds to make them fluffy – this will add the crunch every roast potato needs. Cook in hot oil in the oven for 30 minutes. 

While cooking, mix the juice of a lemon, two tsp of oregano and semolina, and garlic. Remove the potatoes from the oven, add the mixture plus additional lemon slices and cook for another 30 minutes.

She added: ‘I also mix the ingredients with a little bit of stock, chicken or vegetable, that kind of absorbs into it so you get this lovely bit of extra flavour, then you have this bit of semolina in there so you get a bit of extra crunch. 

‘The bash of citrus hit really lifts the whole thing. Potatoes can be quite heavy, but these have a bit of that fat and that crispiness but the lemon just zings through. It’s something that I love doing.

‘A traditional roast you have your meat, gravy, and I just wanted to expand into something that is super summery, that people would want to have even when it’s really hot outside.

Poppy has shared tips with MailOnline to make the perfect summer gravy using white wine

‘It is so easy to recreate this sort of thing at home.’

No roast would be complete without gravy, and Poppy has it covered. Simply wrap a bulb of garlic in foil and pop it in the same dish as the potatoes, to roast.

Then sauté a couple of shallots before adding a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to the pan. Mash the roasted garlic into a paste and add. Then pour in stock and, gradually, cornflour to thicken.

For a final touch on a special occasion, add a sprinkling of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley. 

This gravy goes especially well with Poppy’s giant ‘tear and share’ Yorkshire pudding, which can be cooked in an air-fryer.

To make, simply mix four eggs, 140g of plain flour and 220ml of milk. Add small bunches of fresh rosemary and thyme and lemon zest, then leave the mixture to cool for an hour.

Then heat oil in the dish for the air fryer at 190C, before cooking the mixture for five to eight minutes until golden and crispy.

Serve in the middle of the table with a handy pot of gravy to dip the pudding into. 

Just three years ago, Poppy would not have dreamed she would be cooking up this new summer roast to four million of her online followers. 

In March 2020 she was approaching ten years as a junior sous-chef in London. Then the coronavirus pandemic arrived and she lost her job almost immediately.

Poppy (left) rose to fame after losing her job at the beginning of the pandemic

She said she first got TikTok so her siblings would ‘think I’m cool’ as she moved back in with them during Covid

She told MailOnline she decided to move back in with her parents and younger siblings so her dogs would have access to a garden.

‘I thought we were going to be in lockdown for three weeks,’ Poppy said. 

‘When I got home, my little brother and sister spent their time just scrolling on TikTok and were not giving me any attention! But then they showed me someone cooking on there and I thought, ok, let’s do a recipe, let’s do something. 

‘So we just started making recipes on there – mainly so that they would think I was cool, and so they would give me some attention.’

To start with her platform was very small and she used it to ‘keep her mind busy’ as she searched for other chef jobs to apply for. 

But messages from followers and key workers thanking her for sharing her recipes and cooking expertise changed things: ‘I thought – I’m actually teaching people, teaching things I didn’t realise were important at the time. 

‘That’s when I realised I wanted to carry on. Because if I can teach a recipe and that can make someone’s day better, that’s what I’ll do.’

After four months, Poppy received her first collaboration request from a kitchen brand, and decided to see whether she could turn her platform into the next step in her career.

Her TikTok account began to garner more and more attention, before beginning to snowball when one of her videos, in which she recreated a McDonalds-style has brown, went viral on social media.

The perfect accompaniment to any gravy is a tear-and-share Yorkshire pudding – which can be cooked in an airfryer

Poppy says she had no social media before TikTok, and it has been an ‘exciting’ journey to learn how to master it

But it was a challenge. Poppy told MailOnline how, immediately after a video she posted received 100,000 views for the first time, TikTok ‘broke’ – meaning that everything was wiped from her account. 

She continued: ‘I also didn’t have social media before this. It was brand new to me. 

‘Managing to get my head around how it works – it’s just been amazing and exciting and I’m very grateful to all those people who enjoy my content.’

Although those early days are well in the past, Poppy says she still has regular ‘pinch-me’ moments when she can’t believe what she has achieved. 

‘I was in the kitchen a few years ago just enjoying my job as a junior sous-chef, so it’s been a big turnaround, the trajectory of my life at that point was completely different.

‘There are so many pinch-me moments, constantly. It doesn’t stop, because I never thought I would be in this position. 

‘The first one was when one of my videos got 100,000 views. Then there was the first time the media became interested in what I’d done. And it was then I realised people were listening to what I had to say.’

She explained how she copes with her new fame by not acknowledging everything that is being written on social media.

‘I’ve always been quite good at enjoying my life no matter what is happening, which is also helpful with social media.

‘At one point I had to decide: I’m not looking at all my comments now. I still go through and reply to many of them on the first day or so, but after that I just sift through. 

‘I don’t want to be silent on things at all, but sometimes I don’t need to know all of it. That’s how I cope with it. 

‘Everyone’s going to get criticism and trolling, that’s just the way the internet is and I don’t think that’s ever going to change.

‘But being able to put out my view, for example on International Women’s Day, I can’t not use my platform for that, it would be stupid not to. It’s not something I shy away from.’

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