Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Home-Fried Potatoes, Please

Idahoan that I am, I love potatoes. A favorite weekend breakfast at Clog-House, Est. 1935 includes this wondrous staple, home-fried with diced onion, in my oft-used and well-seasoned 9" cast iron skillet.

The simple trick to producing golden-brown home fries that are thoroughly cooked is to half-cook the potatoes before slicing, dicing and frying. This may be accomplished by boiling or microwaving. The latter method is quicker, requires less energy, and keeps the summer kitchen cooler.

Peeling the spuds beforehand is a matter of preference. I don't mind the taste of Irish potato skins; cooked red potato skins leave a disagreeable bitter aftertaste , and have a curious propensity to stick to the roof of the mouth.

The onion carmelizes while cooking, and imparts a flavor that truly enhances that of the fried potato. Some cooks also like to add chopped bell pepper, or minced garlic. Others fold in a palmfull of chopped fresh parsley or chives in the last seconds of cooking. If you want to go overboard, try tossing in some peeled and chopped apples and a pat of butter.

Use a very well-seasoned, pre-heated cast iron skillet, as I do, or a good-quality non-stick pan. The potatoes won't stick and you can drastically reduce the amount of frying oil required.

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