I think we’ve agreed numerous times on this site that potatoes are the delicious soothing goodness every vegan has as favorite food in one form and another!
Even if you love potatoes in all their yummy forms (like I do), I don’t know a person who wouldn’t enjoy a huge bowl of crispy potato deliciousness!
Slices are the best for home fries
because they have lots of surface area, and you can smash the hell out of them with the back of a spatula.
Hard rules of ultra-crispy home fries, which are easy enough to memorize:
1. Use russets
2. Slice right
4. Dry well
5. Rocket hot skillet
6. Smashy smashy
Now for elaboration, so you can have a firm grasp on these concepts.
1. Use russets
These are nice and starchy, and extra starch means extra crispy. They’re also quite fluffy and break down easily—which is why we use them for things like mashed potatoes—so they’ll smash up nice and good.
2. Slice right
You don’t want paper thin pieces, because that’s Pommes Anna (another recipe for another day), and you want potato fluff between the crunchy layers. Remember: contrast. About ⅛-inch is perfect.
There are two reasons for this. One, you don’t want to end up with raw insides, which can happen with the hot and fast method; starch takes longer to cook than things like protein. Two, parboiling helps that starch swell up, meaning that when it hits the hot pan those surface granules will explode into a crispy, crunchy exterior.
You don’t want to boil your slices to death, just until you can barely pierce with a fork, like how it feels when you are picking up a cucumber slice in a salad.
Wet potatoes in a pan = steamed potatoes. After you parboil, drain them into a colander, give them a good shake, then lay them out on a tray lined with paper towels. Water will drip off, and the steam will disperse into the air.
If you want to add onions or peppers to your home fries, now is a good time to sautee them.
Your best bet is cast iron. You want to get that thing the temperature of the flat top grill at a diner, which is hot enough to make you a full breakfast in less than 90 seconds.
Next, coat the bottom with oil. You’re not deep frying, but you don’t want to chintz, either. Make sure you’ve got a solid even coat in there, around ⅛-inch if you like measurements.
Put your potatoes in a small bowl, toss with some salt and pepper, and the onions/peppers if you went that way. Carefully tip the whole mess into the rocket hot skillet, spread out a bit with a flat-bottomed spatula, then smash those suckers down and make them sizzle. Give them a bit of time to brown up, then flip. It’s okay if they don’t stay in a solid mass since we’re not making hash browns or potato pancakes. It’s fine to be sloppy.
Once they’re done, lift them out and spread onto your plate to let them cool a bit. And look at them. Take a few seconds to really appreciate those textured niblets of crispity crunchity starch. You put the effort in, and you deserve to enjoy your handiwork on all the levels.
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