My Husband LOVES Breakfast. On the weekends it’s what he looks forward to most- some scrambled eggs, sausage, and a homemade bagel with cream cheese. Always the same. He’s consistent like that. There is one Breakfast item that he will gladly substitue on the rare occasion that I actually offer. Home Fries. Personally they don’t do it for me, I always find them kind of bland. I have to pile on the salt to make them at all appealing to me. And if they don’t even have a hint of crispiness to the potatoes then I am all out. No way! Without the textural contrast of the crunch then they are just cubed, boiled potatoes. Yuck. My Husband would eat a boiled potato without any salt or butter soooooo he’ll take Home Fries any way he can get them. For my own sake, it’s been my mission to find a recipe that is flavorful with great texture. I know there has got to be loads of you just like me out there, that want their Home Fries to be more than just under-seasoned, boiled potato cubes. Well, you’re in for a treat because I finally found one that I approve of!
I’ve tried making Home Fried multiple ways. I can’t stand the boil and cube method. And adding the potatoes straight to the pan leads to burning. I’ve had some success with boiling in a covered pan and then letting the excess liquid steam off uncovered. Also, baking whole potatoes in the oven, peeling them, then cubing has worked pretty well. THIS method though. I really like this. A Cooks Illustrated recipe that tries to duplicate the same delicious dish you might get from a Diner- not too greasy, but nicely golden brown with big flavor. I’m a fan. And I don’t really like potatoes.
The trick to this recipe is to cook the onion first. Let it sauté in some oil until it’s beautifully brown and translucent. Be sure to cook it over medium for at least ten minutes so you can really develop the flavor. If your onions start to burn before then, your heat is up too high. While the onions are sautéing, the cubed potatoes are set in a saucepan filled with water and brought to a boil. Now I know that I just mentioned that I hate boiled potato methods. Well, this isn’t quite the same. As soon as the potatoes come to a boil, they are drained off. What is the point then? The brief boiling simply gets the potatoes ready to be sautéed. It’s bring them up to temperature and sightly tenderizes them, speeding up the cooking process. As soon as the onions are finished browning, you remove them from the pan to a small dish. Oil AND butter are added in to the pan along with the potatoes to beginning cooking and caramelizing. Once the potatoes are finished, the onions are added back in to the mixture as well as some seasonings.
Be warned, there are a few things you should watch out for to make this recipe go a bit smoother. The potatoes come up to a boil much faster than the onions finish. Since you don’t want the potatoes to sit for too long and cool off (because that defeats the purpose of parboiling them to begin with), you need to time it just right. I would start boiling the potatoes maybe after the first two minutes the onions have been on. Of course, this all depends on how quickly you cook the onions. Just be sure to fill the water for the potatoes just slightly above their top, otherwise it will take a long time for them to come to a boil. Does that make sense? Also, to get perfect golden potatoes it is important to withhold all urges to constantly stir them around in the pan. Allowing them to sit and cook for a few minutes at a time is essential. And if at all possible, try to get as many potato cubes as you can flat side down. They aren’t going to crisp up if their corners are the only things touching the pan. And most importantly- BE PATIENT. If they aren’t crisping, it’s because they haven’t been in the pan long enough. The recipe says the potatoes should only take 10-15 minutes, this is totally dependent. If you cut them a little larger or if your heat isn’t up high enough, they might take more time. I try to cut the dice pretty small to avoid this. Sometimes it’s take me as long as 20 minutes for the potatoes to be completely tender and crisped. Just don’t rush them. This recipe WILL work, you just have to have faith.
As far as the seasonings for these Home Fries, they are kept simple with just some salt, pepper, and paprika. Feel free to make some additions if you like things more heavily flavored. Maybe some garlic powder? Or a pinch of cayenne. You can really do what you like here. Personally, I thought they came out with just enough flavor without being overwhelming.
- 2½ Tb vegetable/canola oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½” cubes
- 1¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tb unsalted butter
- 1 tsp paprika
- Heat 1 Tb oil in a 12″ skillet over med-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, place potatoes and 1 tsp salt in large saucepan, cover with ½ ” water, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water comes to a boil, drain potatoes thoroughly in colander.
- Heat remaining 1½ Tb oil and 1 Tb butter in now empty skillet over med-high heat. Add potatoes and shake skillet to evenly distribute potatoes in single layer, making sure 1 side of each piece is touching the skillet. Cook without stirring until potatoes are golden brown on bottom, about 4-5 minutes, then carefully turn potatoes, making sure potatoes remain in single layer. Repeat process until potatoes are tender and browned on most sides, turning 3 to 4 times, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in onion, paprika, remaining ¼ tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Serve.