Potatoes are a fundamental staple of diner breakfast fare. Having already discussed Hash Browns, we turn now to Home Fries.
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“Two eggs any style, choice of potatoes and toast…” In one form or another, this line appears on just about every diner menu I’ve ever read, with two choices of potatoes– hash browns and home fries. Having previously covered hash browns, we’ve got a great technique for home fries to share.
Most breakfast eateries cook the majority of their offerings on a flat-top griddle, which is essentially a giant rectangular frying pan. Home fries are typically cooked in a large batch (or two) before the shift and then reheated to order. You don’t need a flat-top griddle or even a frying pan to make our version:
Large Pyrex Baking Dish
Mortar & Pestle (or Spice Grinder)
White Potatoes (Russets also work, but differently)
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Add enough water to the pot to cover the potatoes you’re about to chop into reasonably-sized pieces. Add the potatoes to the pot as you go. Adjust the water level… too much water will mean that it will take longer to boil, resulting in a mushy final product. Add a dash of salt, then turn up the heat. While the potatoes are cooking, make the rub from 2 parts Montreal Steak Seasoning and 1 part each Granulated Garlic and Paprika. BUT– DON’T MIX THEM YET! For best results, I like to grind the Montreal Seasoning to a finer dust in my mortar & pestle. (I’m sure an electric spice grinder would work as well.)
Preheat oven to LOW broil.
When the potatoes come to a boil, remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Strain, then dump them into the Pyrex dish. Add clarified butter and stir to thoroughly distribute. Sprinkle with the rub you just made and stir again until seasoning is evenly distributed.
Broil the potatoes, stirring periodically. Raise the broil level to HIGH if necessary to crisp the edges of the potatoes as desired. The result should look something like this–
The finished product should be crispy on the outside and tender within. In the boiling stage, it is better to undercook the potatoes than overcook them. If you over-boiled the potatoes, they will be mushy by the time the exterior is browned.
White potatoes keep their shape better than Russets, which is why I prefer them for this dish as well as potato salads.
Consider making this dish more complicated by adding (pre-cooked) onions, peppers, and/or sausage.
Why do we call the spice mixture a “rub?” Because with the addition of a little brown sugar, you’ve got a perfect rub for the pulled pork we’ll soon be featuring.
Montreal Steak Seasoning is merely a personal favorite. As always, I encourage one and all to experiment with your ingredients and make this dish your own.
Truth be told, this dish would more accurately be called “roasted potatoes” because they are never actually fried in any way. But I believe that once you try this recipe, you won’t care. Feel free to let us know how you do with this.