Quality Chop's legendary confit potatoes
It's not often you go to a restaurant just for the potatoes but The Quality Chop House's confit potatoes are off the scale - crisp on the outside, meltingly delicious within. Fortunately for those of you who don't live in or near London chef Shaun Searley shared the recipe in his book The Quality Chop House which came out last year. (I also have my eye on the beef fat Hispi Cabbage!)
Our confit potatoes have become rather legendary. They are the only dish we haven’t once taken off the menu since their happy conception in spring 2013. We’d just opened the restaurant and needed to find something to serve with the chops. Shaun was adamant that QCH didn’t need chips – next thing you know we’d have squeezy ketchup on the tables – but we obviously needed something indulgent, and probably potato-based. We started making layered potatoes and after much trial and error and refrying leftovers, Shaun landed on these crispy golden nuggets.
What with the slicing, layering and overnight chilling, these are something of a labour of love – but they’re worth it. Do use Maris Pipers: they have the perfect sugar-starch-water content to prevent collapse while cooking.
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
125g duck fat
1 tbsp salt
oil, for frying
Maldon salt, to taste
mustard dressing (see below)
Preheat the oven to 120°C and line a standard 1.7l terrine mould with baking parchment.
Peel and wash the potatoes, then use a mandoline to slice them as thinly as possible. In a large bowl, toss the slices thoroughly with the duck fat and salt. Layer the potatoes in the mould, one slice at a time, until you’ve built up multiple tiers. Once you’ve used up all the potato, cover the top with baking parchment and cook for about 3 hours until the potatoes are completely tender. Place a small baking tray or plate on top of the baking parchment covering the potatoes, along with a few heavy weights (we find tins work well) and leave to cool, then refrigerate overnight to compress.
The next day, remove from the tray and cut the potato into 3x3cm pieces.
Heat enough oil for deep-fat frying to 190°C, either in a deep fryer or a heavy-based saucepan. Fry the pieces for about 4 minutes until croissant-gold. Sprinkle over some Maldon salt, drizzle with mustard dressing and eat immediately.
This may look fairly prosaic but it’s completely crucial in our kitchen. No confit potato leaves the pass until it has been dressed in this, so if you want yours to be the real deal you will need this dressing too. (Though you won't probably need quite this much! FB)
425g Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp cider vinegar
375ml vegetable oil
Mix the mustard, lemon juice and vinegar in a large bowl, then whisk in the vegetable oil until emulsified. Store in squeezy bottles in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
What to drink: You're probably going to serve these wonders with something - most probably a steak or chops so your wine choice is most likely to be dictated by that - most probably red. But if you were serving them on their own - and why not? - I'd be tempted by a glass (or two) of champagne
This recipe is from THE QUALITY CHOP HOUSE: Modern Recipes and Stories from a London Classic by William Lander, Daniel Morgenthau & Shaun Searley (Quadrille, £30) Photography: Andrew Montgomery
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