Patata fil-forn – Maltese Roast Potatoes

Patata fil forn

Patata fil forn

I think these potatoes win the prize for lowest effort to highest tastiness ratio. You chop things, chuck them in the oven, salivate over the delicious smells, then scoff in large quantities.

They go with just about everything. We usually have them with fish (try sprinkling a few fennel seeds on top), but they perk up any roast dinner too. And they’re extra special with a bit of meaty goodness – slow cooked shoulder of lamb finished off on top of these spuds is a work of art.

There’s a bit of an art to the cooking of them… They pretty much steam to begin with and then, once they’re cooked and most of the liquid gone, you whip the foil off to let them roast. But the time it takes to steam them is a bit of a moveable feast…. So be prepared to check them and keep cooking if they’re still hard. It’s very hard to be patient, especially as the braising onions give off the most delicious whiff for the whole cooking time. But there is not much mankier than a raw potato, so stick it out.

It’s worth it for the deeply savoury flavour, and the softness of the bottoms of the potatoes contrasted with the crunch of the crispy, salty, pepper tops.

Maltese Roast Potatoes - before

Maltese Roast Potatoes – before


800g potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1cm
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Drizzle oil over the base of the oven dish. Spread over the garlic, and about half of the onion slices.

Lay out the potatoes in one layer.

Cover with the rest of the onions.

Pour water into the dish so it is 1.5 – 2cm deep – all the potatoes should be touching the water, but they should not be covered.

Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle the tops with plenty of salt and pepper.

Cover tightly with foil, and bake for around 45 minutes in a hot oven. After 30 minutes, check and see if the potatoes are cooked (poke with a knife). It might take up to an hour.

Once the potatoes are soft, remove the foil and roast for about half an hour, until the tops are crunchy and most of the water has evaporated.





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