There is nothing more homey and satisfying than a dish of fried potatoes, served as a side to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Many people adore ordering the crispy, crunchy, savory fried potatoes breakfast restaurants specialize in serving up, but efforts to recreate their goodness at home may result in an unappealing, mushy mess. I promise you, you can make homemade fried potatoes that beat the pricey restaurant ones all hollow, and by cooking from scratch in your own kitchen, you have total control of the quality of the ingredients. Follow my fried potato recipe and you’ll have added a dish to your repertoire that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life!
Picking The Right Potatoes For Fried Potato Success
The photo shown on the right is of the wonderful Rose Fir Apple Fingerling Potatoes (Rosa Tannenzapfen) we are growing this year on the farm. This variety is also sometimes mistakenly referred to as Rose Finn Apple, but these special fingerlings get their name from the fir cones of German forests which they closely resemble in shape. The potatoes you choose for making fried potatoes are the key factor in their success or failure and this is why I’ll take a moment hear to sing the praises of Fingerling Potatoes.
The quality you are seeking to produce a dish of fried potatoes in which there are separate, crispy chunks instead of mush is waxiness. Your typical russet potato (the kind you think of as a baked potato) is a starchy potato. In my experience, starchy potatoes are great for baking, for soups and for mashed potatoes, but when crunchiness and distinct sections of potato are wanted (as in oven fries, hash, hash browns or fried potatoes) what you want is the waxiest potato you can get. I don’t believe that you will find a better candidate than a fingerling potato such as Rose Fir Apple or or the golden-skinned German Fingerlings. Fingerling potatoes recipes can sometimes be hard to come by. Take it from me: fingerlings were made to be fried! They retain their shape and are so rich in flavor and texture. Delicious!
My second choice, if you can’t grow or find fingerlings, would be the yellow-type potatoes including Yukon Golds, Yellow Finns, or better yet, German Butterballs. These will produce quite tasty fried potatoes (though I think they are most ideal for hash browns and oven fries). If you can get a hold of Fingerling Potatoes, you will have my top recommendation for this fried potato recipe. If not, and you have to go with the round yellow potatoes, you are still going to have something so good, you’ll want to eat a whole skillet of them yourself.
A final note about choosing potatoes: please, buy only organic potatoes. You seriously do NOT want to eat (or probably even know about) the toxic, carcinogenic chemicals used in conventional potato growing. For your family’s health, buy organic, and if possible, from the potato farmer nearest you. The best potatoes you’ll ever eat are home-grown, but local potatoes are the next best thing and buying locally supports organic farmers near you and means less pesticides in your family’s air and water. It’s a good deal, all around!
The Fried Potatoes Recipe – Here It Is!
This recipe feeds two adults. Increase for a family-sized meal.
What You’ll Need
10-15 organic fingerling potatoes or 5-6 organic round yellow potatoes
2 Tbs. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Several nice sprigs of fresh parsley, minced
2-3 nice fresh chives, minced
1 heaping Tbs. red onion, sliced paper thin and chopped
1 tsp. Dill (fresh when in season, dry when not)
Salt & Pepper to taste
An iron skillet
Water for boiling
Thoroughly wash your fried potatoes. Many people like to leave the skins on for better flavor, but if your potatoes have a lot of eyes, which is often the case with fingerlings, you may choose to fully or partially skin them. Cut them up into bite-sized chunks.
Put the potatoes in a pot and pour in just enough water to barely cover them. Bring to a full rolling boil. Put the lid on the pot and turn down the heat to low-medium. Cook the potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork, but are not falling apart. For fingerlings, this tends to take 20-30 minutes.
This is an extremely important factor in the success of your potatoes. When your potatoes have finished boiling, drain them thoroughly through a strainer and put them on a large plate that allows you to spread them out flat to cool. The potatoes should cool near a window for at least an hour and then be put in the refrigerator for a minimum of another hour. They must be thoroughly cold and dry before you fry them or they will not turn out well. Ideally, what we like to do is boil up a batch of potatoes whenever we think of it and then set them in the fridge overnight with a piece of waxed paper over them. Then, when we want some fried potatoes the next day, all we have to do is spend a couple of minutes frying them up. However, if you want same-day fried potatoes, be sure to follow my 2 hours of cooling rule for success.
I emphasize a cast iron skillet in the above list of what you need because I don’t find that stainless steel delivers quite the perfect crust on the potatoes that cast iron will. If you have to use a steel pan, then go ahead, but if you have cast iron, this is the time to use it! Put the olive oil in the pan and get it good an hot. Drop in your red onion and stir fry it until it starts to become translucent. This step infuses the oil with the delicious flavor of onion that is so companionable with potatoes.
Put the flame to medium-high and drop in your cold boiled fingerlings/yellow potatoes. RESIST THE URGE TO STIR TOO OFTEN. Every so often, turn all the potatoes in the pan with a spatula, giving the bottom of the pan a little scrape as you do so, but don’t do it too much. The little potatoes need time to brown and crisp on all sides. In 5-6 minutes, they will begin to become golden and crusty. Add your dill, salt and pepper now. Continue to let fry.
When you see tons of good crunchiness covering all of the potatoes and their color is a rich golden brown, it’s time to add your minced fresh parsley and chives. Allow to cook for one more minute. Turn off the heat, plate them up and eat!
Your fried potatoes should look as scrumptious as these! I bet you can almost taste their savor, looking at this photo. Again, if you get into the habit of keeping cold boiled potatoes in the fridge, making a batch of delicious fingerling fried potatoes takes no more than about 10 minutes and they make such a fine accompaniment to so many meals.
This fried potato recipe is vegan, gluten free and because it uses organic potatoes and just a small amount of healthy organic olive oil, this is a wholesome recipe you can enjoy as often as you like. As a child, my love for my mother’s fried potatoes knew no bounds and she always had a bowl of cold potatoes on hand to fix these for we children. Elders will love this fried potato recipe, too, as it will remind them of the good old country cooking they may have enjoyed as youngsters. The simplest recipes still make the best-tasting food, when prepared from quality ingredients. And, being able to make these at home means you can dine in with your family, saving money and savoring the best the earth has to offer.
Additional Fried Potato Recipe Suggestions
- Pepper fans love the addition of a little chopped sweet or hot pepper to their fried potatoes. Add the peppers when you add the potatoes to the frying pan.
- Though the dill/parsley/chives combo is my all-time favorite in this fingerling potato recipe, you can experiment with other seasonings. You could exchange shallots or scallions for the red onion and try other herbs such as thyme and majoram for different tastes.
- Fried potatoes and a just-picked lettuce salad with a simple vinaigrette make an ideal light lunch.
- Experiment with the different types of fingerling potatoes and yellow-fleshed waxy potatoes you come across to see if you can discover your ultimate favorite variety for this recipe. As for me, I just haven’t found a fingerling potato to beat Rose Fir Apple for fried potatoes, but maybe you’ll discover one you like even more.
A Final Word About The Goodness Of Potatoes
Potatoes were a major staple crop in Peru by the time of the Inca Empire, some 500 years ago. The ingenious Indigenous farmers discovered they could plant potatoes on the incredibly steep high mountain slopes where few other crops would grow. Perhaps even more amazing, the Incas utilized a process of freeze-drying their potatoes (sunning them in the day and letting them freeze at night over and over again) which enabled these skilled people to fill their vast storehouses with long-keeping potatoes that provided total security against famine and want. The freeze-dried potatoes were then reconstituted in a host of stews, soups and other dishes.
There are so very many varieties of potatoes, thanks to the work of South America’s early Indigenous farmers. Like so many other crops, the russet potato came to signify ‘potato’ to people in the U.S. because it stores and ships well. Good keeping qualities can be a positive thing, but honing in on just one variety of potato, when countless types are available, is a foolhardy thing to do. All it would take to wipe out the monocrops of single variety russet potatoes would be a serious virus or pest and then where would we all be? By growing and purchasing diverse types of potatoes, we not only get to enjoy different tastes and textures, we are also securing our future of good eating. Diversity is healthy!
Russet potatoes can be exceptionally good, and truth be told, for new potatoes dug out of the earth in spring and immediately boiled, they are my favorite variety. But, if the only variety of potato you’ve eaten is that familiar oblong baker, you are in for a delightful treat trying out red, yellow and blue potatoes, fingerlings, heirlooms and other mouthwatering varieties. The Scandinavians say that they do not feel they have truly eaten in a day unless they’ve had potatoes, and I confess, I stand in utter solidarity with them on this. Potatoes got a foolish bad rap in the U.S. back in the 1950′s when they were billed as ‘fattening’. Unless you’re drowning them in butter, nothing could be farther from the truth. Use olive oil and you’ve got a feast fit for an Inca lord, and a nutritional boon for your family.
Got a little space of earth outside your house? Plant some potatoes this spring. For round potatoes, cut them up into 2 oz. pieces, each with a couple of eyes on it. Eyes are the little dented dark marks you’ll notice on the potatoes. For fingerlings, cut them up into 1 oz. pieces. Again, you’ve got to use organic potatoes for this, as conventional ones are often sprayed with an anti-sprouting chemical (for pity’s sake!). Dig trenches about 6 inches deep. Amend with aged compost. Set the potatoes with their eyes up. Cover up with dirt. When their green branches appear, mulch them with hay and let them grow. When they flower, pick new potatoes. When the plants wilt and die back, harvest mature potatoes. Truly, potatoes are one of the easiest crops to grow and eating a homegrown potato is a surefire way to get a strong sense of the inherent goodness of nature and life. No fooling!
I hope you’ll give my fingerling potatoes recipe a try and let me know how you like these fried potatoes. I just ate some for lunch yesterday and they were so good, I’m still thinking about them today. Now that’s good eating!
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