Hello again, my peckish peeps! Today we’re gonna show you a fairly quick and easy side dish that’s really tasty and relatively healthy. That’s right! It’s fried tater time!
Regular folks call them fried potatoes or home fries. Not me! I call ‘em fried taters because I’ve watched Sling Blade so many times the term “taters” is permanently etched into my brain.
These home fries are not just any ol’ fried taters! These are permeated with my home-mixed steak rub. Of course, as always, feel free to use your very own special blend or favorite premix spices. Tony Chachere’s is my go to when I’m outta my home blend, BTW.) However, you’ll want to spice it according to your own tolerance to heat. My rub is pretty spicy and isn’t meant for people who have heat sensitive taste buds.
HOME FRIES, HOME MADE
As I said, these fried taters are quick, easy, pretty healthy, really tasty, and if you make too much, the leftovers go nicely into an egg scramble. (We’ll go into that in another post.) So let’s get started! First, find yourself the appropriate amount of taters and onions you’ll need for the amount of people you’ll be serving. For two people, I suggest two large or three medium size taters. The taters in question in this tutorial are russets, but you can use whatever you like. We’re also gonna use a single whole onion. Again, use whatever suits your taste. Ours is a plain ol’ white onion of about medium size.
It should be noted that we are still talking about enough for two people so if you are serving more than that, get out your ol’ TI-54 and calculate amounts and cook times accordingly, otherwise this whole experiment may result in some very rude comments later when you get reviewed online.
Next, scrub yer taters under cold water with a vegetable brush to get off whatever residual impurities you don’t feel comfortable shoving down your gullet, then use a paring knife to perform the medieval punishment of eye removal. Don’t forget to laugh maniacally as you imagine how these taters will never again attempt to usurp your throne. But leave the skin on! You’re not a monster, after all!
Alright! Now dice up your blind taters and toss them into a microwavable-safe container, preferably one that has a handy form fitted lid. Next, peel and dice up your onion. I tend to dice mine into small bits because the truth is, I am no fan of the texture of onions. I love the flavor, but I am repulsed by the slimy yet crunchiness of them so chopping them up real small is the way to go because they cook down into even smaller and more palatable bits. Also, smaller bits equals more surface area which will release more of the flavor.
Go ahead and toss those onion bits into the dish with the taters! Now add some spice. That’s not enough. Add more. More. Still more. More than that. Keep going. More. More! MORE! OKAY STOP! That’s enough! Secure the lid and give them a good shaking. Now lift one of the corners of the lid so it doesn’t explode in your microwave, and nuke ’em for three minutes.
(If you don’t have a microwave, skip on over to the part where you put them in the pan and add about ten minutes to your cook time.)
While your taters are nuking, pour enough olive oil into your fry pan to cover the bottom. We’re not deep frying… we just need enough oil in the bottom to keep the taters from frying dry. In our case we have this hybrid wok/fry pan thingy that Rachelle gave us. I poured in what bartenders refer to as about a finger’s worth. It’s quite literally about the thickness of my pinky finger, which is about 1/2 an inch thick so you’ll want to examine your digits and determine which one is right for you.
For those of you who are not entirely sure about the olive oil thing, let me assure you that A: This really works, B: It is indeed healthier and C: Here’s some more info about using olive oil if you don’t believe me. It’s not only better for you, it tastes better, and anyway that’s how we do it, so there. Mleh!
Turn your burner on high and get that oil a-heating! Be sure to turn your vent on high as well. When the microwave yells beep, take them out, make sure the lid isn’t loose, and shake the living daylights out of them. Lift one of the lid corners again and nuke again for another two or three minutes. After the second round of nuke therapy, remove the dish from the microwave and carefully pry off the lid lest you get a face full of spicy tater and onion steam. Check with a fork to see if the taters are ready. Hopefully they aren’t too “done” and there is still a little resistance. You want them soft, but not so soft that they immediately surrender at the first sign of an enemy fork. Unless you like passive potatoes. Me, I like mine a little feisty. Don’t worry if your fork slides right through with ease, though. It’ll be fine, just use a gentle hand at that point.
Now check your oil. No, not in your car, silly! In the pan! To see if the oil is hot enough, dig out a bit of test onion and toss it in the pan. If it reacts violently with much bubbling and hissing, your oil is ready! If it doesn’t, wait half a minute and try it again. Once your test onion creates the proper amount of bubbling and hissing, carefully add the rest of the tater/onion mix. Yes, it’s going to hiss and spit and send tiny blips of insanely hot oil everywhere. There’s nothing to be done about it. Just don’t do this naked, BTW.
Since the microwave cooked them up on the inside, pretty much all you need to do is occasionally move them about in the pan until they get a nice brown crust. I’d like to give a good time estimation, but as I write this it occurs to me that I’ve never timed how long it takes. I want to say around 8-10 minutes, but methinks that’s because we like ours dark brown and crispy. So you’ll want to keep a close eye on them. Remember too that they don’t immediately stop cooking straight out of the pan. They will continue to brown for a minute or two after you put them on the paper towel! I promise the next time I make these I’ll try to keep better tabs on the time. The problem is I’m usually also prepping a main course at the same time.
Now here’s why the pre-nuking your home fries is so important: If you have a neurotic episode because you are unsure how long you’ve been frying your taters and yank them too early, they won’t be all hard in the middle. They’re still quite edible even if they look rather pale. If your main course is already waiting to go on the table, you don’t want it to get cold while you’re waiting on those damned taters. And…voila! You’re still going to impress whoever you are trying to impress with some hot food!
Anyway, once you’ve fried your taters / home fries to your taste, dump them out onto a pre-paper-toweled plate and let the oil drain for a couple minutes or so. I would warn you to wait until they cool down enough to safely eat without searing the flesh inside of your mouth but what’s the use? You’re going to anyway. Then you’re gonna do that little “oh god my face is on fire” dance and turn right around and pop another one right in so I’ll just save my breath.
Enjoy, and as always let us know what mods you may make! Cheers! ~C