Sunday, December 11, 2011

CB Cooks: Extra crispy skillet potatoes

It's been a major life goal of mine to cook diner-style hashbrown/home fried potatoes at home. Not only is it incredibly satisfying and simple to make, but you can make them EXTRA crispy. 99% of the time, I make mine in my cast iron skillet, but you can make them in any skillet-type kitchen cooking vessel. I have been in love with my cast iron skillet for some time now... In most of my cooking I use only 3 things: the cast iron skillet, the (cast iron) dutch oven, and the crock pot. In the summer I use the grill too.

I rarely use a microwave in cooking, but in this recipe it really is the secret ingredient! When I cook raw potatoes in the skillet, when the outside is nice and crispy but the inside is still raw and starchy. My solution is to pre-cook the potatoes in the microwave, cut them, THEN throw'em in the pan. By the time the outside is super crispy and delicious, the inside is heavenly soft like mashed potatoes.

Anyway, here is my recipe:

- Potatoes - I've tried a bunch of different varieties, and they all pretty much work
- Oil - I've used olive, canola, and "vegetable;" they all work fine too
- Salt
- A skillet - I HIGHLY recommend a seasoned cast iron skillet! I think it's much easier to get the potatoes evenly crispy
- A microwave (I guess you could use an oven)

1) Prick some holes in the potatoes with a fork, wrap in paper towel, and throw in the microwave (If the 'taters are really big, you could just cut them in half)

2) Cook on high for 3-5 minutes, depending on size

3) When you hear the potatoes screaming in agony (you know, the high-pitched sound of the steam escaping) let them sit for a while

4) Heat up some oil (probably more than you think) in the skillet

5) Cut up the potatoes- the smaller you cut them, the more surface area there is to get nice and crispy

6) When a little piece of potato sizzles like crazy when you throw it in the skillet, dump the rest of the potatoes in

7) DON'T TOUCH! Let them sit there for 3-4 minutes; sprinkle some salt on top. You want the potatoes to develop a nice thick crust- if you move them now, the crust won't develop and the potatoes will soak up all the oil. Don't fill the pan too full either, or else the potatoes will steam instead of fry.

8) With a spatula, stir the potatoes, let sit again without touching for 3-4 minutes

9) Besides the microwave, this is the key to getting a nice crispy crust. Let them sit! If you stir fry them, it will never happen

10) Continue the stir-wait process for about 20 more minutes

11) Once they look evenly browned and crispy (like the picture), they're done! Add more salt to taste, and eat immediately!

- I sometimes throw sautéed onions and poblano peppers in once the potatoes are almost done. Don't put those in at the beginning, they will surely burn
- These potatoes are great on their own, but even better paired with some delicious scrambled eggs with chorizo, onions, and poblano pepper strips
- If you cook in an oven-friendly vessel, you could plop these in a heated oven to keep them warm while you prepare other stuff
- Then again, another great thing about cast iron skillets is they stay warm for a long time, so maybe that's not even neccesary


  1. I like cutting up a whole Onion when I do that and let it go transparent before I add the spuds.

  2. I have a cast iron skillet and grill pan on my xmas wish list. I loooove me some good crisped spuds!

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