Home Fries – How to use your leftover potatoes 1

Home Fries

4 or 5 boiled potatoes
1/4 cup sunflower oil

A great way to use leftover boiled potatoes. In fact even if home fries were your plan you’d want to boil them up the night before because the key to perfect home fries is that the potatoes are cold when you fry them up. I always like to have some cold already boiled potatoes in the fridge just in case we’re hankering for a breakfast hash up. The point of this is that when the home fries are fried, the already cooked potatoes are cold. This is the key to perfect home fries.

To boil the potatoes
Scrub the potatoes and add enough water to cover the potatoes by an inch or two. Cover and heat on high until boiling, add a generous sprinkle of salt – probably a tablespoon for 4 or 5 potatoes, then bring it down until the water is simmering well. Unless the potatoes are small, check them 15-20 minutes after they start to boil. Pierce one with a small sharp knife. When it slides through like butter, they are done. Drain them and let them cool down, then put them in the fridge overnight. Do not use a fork to test them and try to avoid piercing them more than is necessary.

Transformation to home fries
If you have a non-stick pan, it may be best to use it. In this case add oil to the pan and heat to medium before adding potatoes to the pan. If you are using a stainless steel or aluminum pan, heat the pan to medium high before adding the oil. Either way add the potatoes to oil that is already hot. This is the other key to perfect home fries. The cold potatoes are placed into hot oil.

Add the potatoes to the pan, then let them cook a little before turning them with a metal spatula to mix. If you are using a stainless steel or aluminum pan, you may want to turn the heat down to medium, to avoiding over-browining (sometimes called burning). After turning, let them cook a little before disturbing them again. Leaving them alone after turning helps them develop that golden crispy edge that we all love, as well as avoiding them sticking to the pan. Depending how hot your oil is they may take anything from 5-15 minutes to become golden. Aim for 10.

The Culinary Socializer – Lemon

If you’ve ever made a meal and it wasn’t quite there, just didn’t have the pzazz or the flavors that make you sing. Perhaps it’s a soup that sat in the fridge for 3 days, or a rice pilaf that’s flavors have sunk.

Try adding a little lemon juice. Just a little, too. Not enough to give the dish a lemon flavor, either. Just enough for it to enhance the other flavors that are already there. If a dish is a party, think of lemon as a great conversationalist. Someone who draws the other party-goers into talking, not someone who takes over the conversation and doesn’t let anyone else speak.

I have used lemon juice in this way for years in the restaurant business, often finding that it’s the time that I use the LEAST amount of lemon juice that produces those great comments that we chefs love (even if we say we don’t!). I’m talking 1/16 of a teaspoon per order here. So 1/4 of a teaspoon for a four person soup, or pilaf. Try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.