Crispy on the outside and meltingly creamy within, Fondant Potatoes (pommes de terre fondantes) are a classic French side dish that's restaurant worthy but easy to make at home.
Potatoes are delicious just about any way you cook them - it’s hard to get them wrong. But extraordinary potatoes? Ones that make your eyes roll up with pleasure and invite you to take another bite, those are harder to achieve. Fondant potatoes are just that. The starchy root vegetable elevated to perfection. Chefs often call these ‘melting potatoes,' and once you taste them, you'll understand why.
Ingredients You Need to Make Fondant Potatoes
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: Look for 4, long cylindrical potatoes of similar size.
- Avocado Oil: Or other high heat vegetable oil.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted.
- Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
- Fresh Thyme Sprigs: Plus more fresh thyme leaves for optional garnish.
- Garlic Cloves: 4 large cloves or more.
- Chicken Broth: Or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version of this dish.
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper: ideally freshly ground
Making perfect fondant potatoes is as straightforward as starting them in a heavy skillet and finishing them in the oven, but the method matters here. And so does the type of potato.
Russet Potatoes vs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
Russet potatoes are commonly used for these, but there's a better way. Russets are so starchy that you need to soak them beforehand. Using Yukon Gold potatoes solves this problem. They strike the perfect balance between starchy and waxy, so you can cook them without soaking. (For a traditional look, I chose to peel mine, but that's optional. The skins are so thin that you'll barely notice them, so leave them intact if you prefer.)
How to Skip Clarifying the Butter
Butter is an essential flavor in classic pommes de terre fondantes. But the problem with butter is that it burns easily, if you don't clarify it first. That's why some recipes include that step. In this recipe, you'll brown the potatoes in high heat avocado oil before adding the butter. It works beautifully and skips the added step of making clarified butter.
- I've called for sprigs of both fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, but you can use one or the other if you prefer.
- If you're a garlic lover, add more lightly smashed cloves. They get buttery soft and deeply flavorful. Serve them with the potatoes or enjoy them yourself as a cook's treat!
Yes. Reheat potatoes and leftover sauce in a skillet over medium-low heat until hot, flipping occasionally to heat evenly. Add more stock to thin leftover sauce as needed. Or slice or chop leftover potatoes; pan fry in a little oil until crisp. Whichever method you choose, check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed; serve hot.
Yukon Gold potatoes are ideal because of their creamy texture, buttery flavor and that they don't require soaking.
These names are used interchangeably for the French side dish, Pommes de Terre Fondantes.
What goes well with Fondant Potatoes?
Fondant potatoes are dinner party and date night perfect (as are another French favorite, Lyonnaise Potatoes). Pair them with almost any fish, seafood, or meaty main like:
- Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops, Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb, Pan-Fried Lamb Chops, Shrimp Piccata, Salmon Piccata, or Duck Leg Confit.
- A simple green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Celery Root Remoulade, or a Creamy Cucumber Salad completes the meal.
With just a few simple ingredients and the right technique, you’ll end with lovely golden and creamy potatoes. But be careful, it's a side dish that's so good it might steal the spotlight at the table.
How to Make Fondant Potatoes
Cut rounded ends off of potatoes and peel then cut crosswise into ~2-inch cylinders.
Heat avocado oil in a cast iron skillet (or other heavy bottom, oven-safe skillet), arrange potatoes cut side down in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown on one side. Flip potatoes with tongs; season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on the other side, 10-12 minutes total.
Add butter to pan and swirl until melted. Add chicken broth and place fresh herb sprigs and garlic cloves around potatoes; spoon sauce over potatoes. Transfer to an oven preheated to 400˚F and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve in skillet or arranged on platter, basted with sauce and garnished with fresh thyme leaves.
- 4 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes about 1 ½ pounds
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other high heat oil
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme plus fresh thyme leaves for garnish (optional)
- 4 large garlic cloves lightly smashed and peeled
- ⅔ cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Slice ends off of potatoes and peel. Cut each potato crosswise into ~2-inch cylinders.
- Heat avocado oil in a large cast iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet) over medium heat until hot and shimmering. Add potatoes in a single layer, leaving a little room between each one and season with salt and pepper. Let cook until golden brown on one side, 5-6 minutes (check at 4 minutes and reduce heat if potatoes are browning too quickly). With tongs, flip each potato, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on the other side, 5-6 minutes more. Scatter butter pieces around potatoes and gently swirl pan to distribute as it melts and foams. Add chicken broth and sprigs of rosemary and thyme along with smashed garlic cloves to pan; bring to boil. Spoon broth mixture over potatoes.
- Transfer skillet to preheated oven and bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot in skillet or transfer to serving platter. Spoon pan sauce over potatoes and garnish with fresh thyme leaves if desired.
- Serve the tender, roasted garlic cloves along with the potatoes or eat them yourself - cook's treat!