I’m happy to report that I’ve solved a vexing problem. Granted, this problem (soggy fries) does not vex me as much as, say, mosquitos, potholes, or Twitter. Still, mushy fries have long been a personal point of contention with me.
For years, I’d slice the potatoes, pat them dry, carefully spread them on the pan so they weren’t touching, bake them…and then we’d eat limp potatoes. Sometime later, after weeks or months had passed, and my hope had returned, I’d feel compelled to try again. I’d google another recipe and follow the instructions carefully. We’d eat another batch of boggy potatoes.
Then one day, when I had, with trepidation, prepared another pan of potatoes, I got sidetracked by the internets. I was watching Eldad Hagar’s videos about rescuing homeless dogs, got all weepy, and completely forgot about the potatoes.
These turned out to the best potatoes ever. They were crispy and brown and tasty. They were everything I ever wanted in a potato. I tried to remember the steps I had (accidentally) taken, so I could replicate those perfect potatoes.
I’m happy to report that, in the years since, I’ve produced many pans of crispy, golden brown home fries. In fact, I can nonchalantly throw a pan of potatoes in the oven without a backward glance. I know they’re going to be good.
Here’s the secret:
- Use Russet potatoes.
- Bake them for a good long time in a hot oven (450 degrees).
Yup, that’s it.
Well, there are a couple of other little things:
- cut the potatoes roughly the same size.
- toss them with some olive oil.
But, really, it’s all simple stuff. It doesn’t even matter if the slices are perfectly spread out, or not. They can touch! This is a technique, more than recipe, but for the sake of anyone out there who’s looking grimly at another plate of soggy potatoes, here you go.
If you try it, tag a photo on Instagram @felechia_leafygreens, or tell me in the comments about a vexing problem (e.g. traffic jams, blister packaging, Nicki Minaj…)
- Four Russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees with an oven rack in the middle.
- Oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper if you're feeling lazy about washing up.
- Scrub or peel the the potatoes.
- Slice the potatoes into pieces roughly the same size. Toss the potatoes with olive oil.
- Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake 20 minutes.
- Flip the potatoes over and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until they've reached the level of golden brown crispness you like.
After peeling, I slice the potatoes lengthwise into halves. Then I slice each half lengthwise again. Then I slice each quarter into pieces about ¼ of an inch thick.
If I am cooking more than four potatoes. I spread them out over 2 baking sheets and switch the position of the pans (top to bottom) every ten minutes so the fries bake evenly.
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce, from a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
- Mix the ketchup and the adobo sauce, gradually adding more adobe sauce until the ketchup achieves your desired level of heat.