Fried Potatoes

Fried potatoes with macaroni and tomatoes, kilt greens and hoecakes

Fried potatoes are a dish – or component of other dishes, such as Bauernfrühstück – essentially consisting of potatoes which have been fried, or deep-fried, in hot cooking oil, often with the addition of salt and/or other seasonings. They are often served as a side dish.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fried_potatoes

Who doesn’t like potatoes? Especially when they’re cooked in lots of fat. Fried potatoes are delicious, easy, and take well to just about any set of flavors you want to add to them. They make a delicious addition to a soup bean supper.

Traditionally you’d make fried potatoes with leftover boiled or baked potatoes, but sometimes you want them when you don’t have leftovers around. I’m here to say that there’s no reason to wait around for your potatoes to boil and cool, because it works just fine to slice up your raw potatoes and cook let them cook in the frying process. I suppose if you’re picky the texture is a little firmer starting with raw potatoes, but I personally don’t think that matters.

The best part of fried potatoes, of course, is the crispy brown parts. The secret to getting that is to not crowd your potatoes. I originally wrote the recipe with two and a half pounds of potatoes. Once they are sliced thin that makes a very large pile of potatoes. My largest cast iron skillet is 9″, and I split my potatoes into two batches just to fit them and probably should have done four batches to allow for better browning. I’ve cut the recipe in half for sharing here.

I recommend slicing your potatoes pretty thin- ¼” or less. You can also dice them, but they may take longer to cook. My theory is that thin slices have more surface area to get crispy, although maybe diced ones would have less overlapping pieces resulting in more crispyness? Maybe I’ll test that theory out next time.

You’ll notice that I call for half vegetable oil and half olive oil or butter. Olive oil and butter have very low smoke points (the temperature at which they start to burn). By mixing them with an oil that is better at high temperatures we get the flavor of the olive oil or butter while the vegetable oil helps keep them from burning as quickly.

In order to both get the potatoes tender and achieve crispy deliciousness I have two secrets. Lots of oil, and cooking with a lid for the first ten minutes or so. The oil of course is what does the frying. You need enough of it that the bottom layer of potatoes doesn’t soak it all up immediately, leaving the upper layers without any when you flip them. The lid allows the potatoes to steam. Unless you have a large enough pan that you can cook them in a single layer, this is how you soften the potatoes that aren’t touching the pan. But don’t leave the lid on too long or you’ll wind up with soggy potatoes that don’t get very crisp.

Th most common addition to fried potatoes is onions. If you don’t like them leave them out, but I do so I added them. When adding other seasonings here are my guidelines: Add dry spices and herbs near the end, so they don’t burn. Hearty fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme you can be added with the onion, but more tender ones like basil or dill should be added at the very last minute.


Fried Potatoes

Serves: 3-4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

1 ¼ lbs. potatoes
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
OR
2 Tablespoons butter 
½ large onion, diced
½ teaspoon garlic powder
OR
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper

Optional:
½ Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ red bell pepper, diced
⅝ teaspoons paprika
¾ Tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced (garnish)

Slice your potatoes about ¼ inch thick. 

Heat vegetable oil and olive oil or butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until bottom starts to brown. Flip potatoes over, sprinkle onion over the top and cover again. Cook another 5 minutes until potatoes begin to brown. Remove cover and flip potatoes again. Add spices and seasonings and continue to cook, flipping occasionally, until potatoes are tender, browned and crispy. 10-15 minutes. Adjust heat as needed so that potatoes brown nicely without burning. 

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