There are few side dishes as universally acclaimed as roast potatoes, particularly in Britain, where food-lovers are always on the quest for perfectly crisp and fluffy spuds.

One cooking method that has earned a place in the hearts of many is James Martin’s after the TV chef and presenter mastered the technique on his Saturday Kitchen series.

Martin’s roadmap to the perfect roast potato is easy to follow too, leaving little room for error when cooks find themselves pressed for time.

Like most chefs, Martin underscores the importance of choosing the best variety of spuds, with Maris Piper and King Edward coming up trumps for their texture.

Another critical factor is the choice of fat. Martin opts for lard to provide superior crispiness. His recipe goes as follows:

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Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C/ Gas 6 and simmer the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for four to five minutes or until the edges start to soften.

Boiling the potatoes until the edges soften to the point where they start to fray will ensure an extra crispy finish. Drain the potatoes and give them a shake around the pan or colander so the edges roughen up – this will also help crisp them up.

Melt the lard in a deep flameproof roasting tray and dry the potatoes until they start to colour. Sprinkle salt on your potatoes and roast them for about 30 minutes until they turn golden.  

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Flip the spuds over and put them back in the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes until they are golden all over.

Seasoning is another crucial element. James suggests adding garlic cloves or sprigs of thyme or rosemary to the tray before roasting, to boost flavours. The aroma of the herbs infuses the potatoes and fills your kitchen with an irresistible aroma.

The final result is a tray of gloriously golden potatoes that yield equal amounts of crunch and melt-in-your-mouth fluffiness.

The TV chef reckons that the potatoes are so intensely flavoured once they come out of the oven that they don’t need any condiments.

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