It’s quite depressing to see Christmas merchandise in the supermarkets before I’ve even cooked my first roast of the Autumn. We’ve gone from tropical monsoon to Indian summer in the space of a week, no one knows what to wear and it’s all a bit discombobulating. What on earth to cook? Today I went for cold baked beans eaten with a fork directly from the tin but this was more to do with the demands of a teething baby than the weather. In order to restore some sort of normality to my life, I turn to this photograph from a roast of Christmas past* and a much-loved recipe donated by a good friend.
I enjoy a classic roast potato as much as the next woman but the ratio of salty, crunchy goodness to bland unseasoned fluff is all out. Roasties shouldn’t just be there to soak up the juices and here’s where the hedgehog comes in:
I recommend using King Edwards and plenty of them – people tend to want seconds and thirds of these. Turn your oven up as hot as it goes. Leaving the skin on, slice each potato in half lengthways and lay each half, flat side down, on a chopping board. Using a small and very sharp knife, make slits a pound coin’s width apart, being sure not to cut all the way through. Pour a generous few glugs of groundnut or sunflower oil into a baking tray and heat in the oven until smoking. Remove the tray and carefully slide in the hedgehogs, basting them well while they sizzle so the hot oil can work its way into the cracks. Chuck in half a bulb of garlic broken into cloves (no need to peel), some pepper and a very generous handful of sea salt – resisting the urge to crush the flakes too much between your fingers. Roast for 45 minutes-1 hour until the hedgehogs are golden brown and wonderfully crisp. As soon as the weather returns to normal, try these instead of your normal roasties and you’ll never look back.
*We’ve grown rather fond of the tea towel in this photo, so much so that a few of its winged creatures are up there in our header and down there on our smart new business cards. We’re not going back to school but we do have new stationery!