Last weekend, we hosted brunch for some of our friends. This might sound strange, but I think preparing for the brunch was just as much fun as the event itself. I got to comb through the oodles and oodles of breakfasty recipes I have on file, scrutinize those recipes for menu selection, buy beautiful summer berries for a fruit salad, and make fun foods like these biscuits (it’s not often I’ll exert effort on such an indulgence :P). We also lucked out with the weather, and were able to eat outside on our building’s rooftop deck.
These home fries actually didn’t make an appearance at the brunch. I really wanted to squeeze them in, but there just wasn’t enough oven space (two ovens would have come in handy. ah the dream kitchen, one day.) These babies definitely rival those you get in a classic diner. Cook’s Illustrated has come up with a method for achieving that beautifully browned crisp exterior, and tender interior, with traditional home fry flavor. Here’s how they do it …
Peel and dice your potatoes
Add potatoes and baking soda to boiling water (you want to encourage uneven cooking, so the outsides break down more than the inside)
Coat with butter, salt, and cayenne, then rough ’em up with your rubber scraper
Transfer them to a very hot, oiled baking sheet (careful, the oil really sizzles when you add the potatoes)
While they roast, prep some onions
Scrape and flip the potatoes, and clear a space for the onions
Snip some chives
Toss together and dig in!
Home Fries – Cook’s Illustrated, January & February (Issue 114)
- 3 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4″ dice
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 onions, cut into 1/2″ dice
- 3 tbsp. minced chives
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500°.
Bring 10 cups of water to boil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add potatoes and baking soda. Return to boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain potatoes, then return them to the Dutch oven and place over low heat. Cook, shaking occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 2 min. Remove from heat and add butter, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and cayenne. Mix with a rubber spatula until potatoes are coated with a thick, starchy paste, about 30 sec.
Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle with 2 tbsp. oil. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Roast for 15 min. While the potatoes roast, combine the onion, remaining 1 tbsp. oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using a thin, metal spatula, scrape and turn the potatoes. Clear a space in the center of the baking sheet and add the onion mixture. Roast for 15 min.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and scrape and turn again, mixing the onions in with the potatoes. Continue to roast until the potatoes are well browned and the onions are softened and beginning to brown, 5-10 min. Remove from the oven and stir in and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield – 6-8 servings