Friday, December 21, 2012

Even Better Fries

French fries might be the work of the devil - I've heard, but haven't wanted to confirm, that most of the potato's vitamins are fat-soluble and get left behind in the frying pan - but ooh la la! We pan fry potatoes at least once a week. Here are our secrets.

1) Choose good potatoes. (You knew I was going to say that, right?) Okay, okay, frying is the most forgiving way to prepare bad potatoes, especially if you add spices and salt, but it's worth it to use the good stuff.
2) A range of colors is nice. 

Lookin' gorgeous at the farmers' market and even better on your plate.

Purple Peruvians, Purple Majesty, Adirondack Red and other potatoes stay vibrant throughout the cooking process - and like any fruit or veg this color, they're loaded with anti-oxidants. 

In the photo below, we have Yukon Gold, Russet, Purple Majesty and another kind of potato - think of it as a meeting-halfway potato - with purple skin and white flesh. I wondered what it could be, so I googled "Potato purple skin white flesh." According to the Washington State University Extension website, it could be a Blue Mac.  Another candidate is the more memorably named La Crotte D'ours, or Bear Poop.

3) Don't bother to peel! As you've no doubt heard, the skin is particularly nutritious. It's also very tasty! Slice them up and soak 'em for a minute in a bowl of water to rinse off the starch. Then pat them dry with a paper towel. (What's left behind is potato starch, which is kind of fun to play with, but that's another story.)

Yukon Golds, Purple Majesties and others en route to full glory.

4) Fry 'em up! Give yourself more time than you think you'll need. Crusts are nice and underdone potatoes are not.

Getting that nice crust

5) Season liberally! If you start out with good potatoes, salt alone will do the trick, but here are some other good choices:

Paprika and smoked paprika
Crushed rosemary 
Rubs for steak and other meat
Indian spice packages (for tandoori chicken, rogan josh - anything really)
Chopped garlic and parsley (fried parsley is also tasty)
Lots of black pepper

I once improvised a spice blend of garlic powder, crumbled rosemary, salt, smoked paprika and ground chipotle. 

Let your imagination be your guide! There are few dishes in which your success would be likelier.


  1. These look really tasty. What do you think about mixing in sweet potatoes?

  2. The potato is, for those who can find its nutrition elsewhere, best consumed in small quantities (IMHO). It is highly glycemic, that is, it will cause a spike in blood sugar. It is a "fattening food". The loss-of-vitamins-from-frying story, however, is a canard. The main vitamin in a potato is C, and that is NOT a fat soluble vitamin (FSV). The FSVs are A D E and K and potatoes are not a main source for these.
    --Hugh G

    1. Thanks for the information. A word in defense of fried potatoes, at least these guys – they’ve kept their nutritious skins on. And if they’re not reheated, potatoes offer the health benefits of "resistant starch." (The hyperlink didn't work, so just google the term.)

  3. Thank you for sharing this delectable recipe. I love potatoes and find the concept of using several different varieties at once a novel concept that adds color and excitement to a common dish