As much as I like bread, potatoes are a close second. Starch I guess runs my life. I’m surprised I don’t huff cans of laundry starch to get a fix when I’m feeling the urge for something starchy. Mashed, salt potatoes, fries, nothing comes quite close to my ideal as a homefry. I have a thing about homefries. They’re either too bland, too burnt, or too smooshy. A bit of a case of Goldilocks – nothing is ever quite right. But I’ve figured it out, finally!! I’ve fried them, steamed them, baked them…combinations of all of the above. Nothing ever gave me what I was looking for. I finally got a lock on it, and it makes them easier and healthier to boot. Another win-win! Brown, crispy, not burnt, not greasy, spicy and salty, and fluffy inside. I could not be more ecstatic.
First you need some potatoes. I use some Yukon gold, some red potatoes, and if I’m feeling especially cheeky I throw some sweet potato in. It really depends on how much you’d like. For the two of us I usually make 5 or 6 potatoes worth. It’s a good amount to go with a meal and leave some left over to fight over later.
Now you’ll need to drizzle some oil over them. You don’t need a ton – just enough to get them a bit moist. It’ll be enough to keep all the spices in there moving around evenly. As far as spices – you really want to keep it simple and put what you like on. As a general rule potatoes need a lot of salt. A lot. I put more than I think I need on and I still usually need to put more on later…but that’s just me. I use salt, pepper, basil, paprika, and maybe a little hot pepper, like cayenne or chipotle pepper powder. I’d love to give you a good idea what the amounts are I use. But I don’t know. It varies batch to batch and day-to-day. It looks something like this when I get done with it.
I like my homefries with some kick. That’s why they look dirty. Give them a good stir and let them sit a minutes. Depending on how much you’ve made, you’re going to adjust the next step a little bit depending on volume. For the amount you see here, I stick the whole thing in the microwave for about 4 minutes. If you double the volume you double the cooking time and add a little bit. You may want to take them out half way along and give it a stir, then pop them back in. You can’t really overdo this step. You can under-do it. So better to err on the side of zapping it too much.
At this point you want to get your oven going. Somewhere around 400-450 degrees F. Pop a cookies sheet out onto the counter. You don’t need to grease it, the little bit of oil you drizzled over them to start will keep them from sticking too badly.
Let them bake. Something along the lines of 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll need to keep an eye on them after about 20 minutes. After about 10 or 15 you can take them out and give you a general flipping. They’ll enjoy that and it’ll keep you from having really chisel them off when they come out. You’ll be rewarded with…
- 5 or 6 potatoes
- Cayenne or Chipotle Pepper Powder (if you’re feeling brave)
- 2 tablespoons of oil