Monday, I fried
for the potatoes
Potatoes, 1 + 1/3 kg ( 2 + 4/5 lb ) waxy ones, for frying
Salt, to season
for the leeks
Leeks, 1 stalk
Paprika, 1 tsp
Flour, 1 tbsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Materials and Methods
The leftover potato
Let me be the first to admit: Brazil is a weird place. We have so much diversity in ingredients and on the other hand we are deprived in some other ones.
Most of the time we can blame on the climate. Vegetables and fruits that need cold are hard to grow here.. And hard to grow is an euphemism to expensive, usually very expensive.. Red berries, for example, are priced in arms and legs..
But there is another type of ingredients, those that can grow easily here, but are not grown or sold. People just don’t know about them, Tomatillos , for one.
On the last years the situation has been changing. Now it is possible to find Bread flour, Cherries, Jalapenos, Blueberries, Vanilla pods and some more are showing on everyday markets.. and not only specialty markets.
One of those findings is this one: Potatoes for Frying.
And the good news is that although I’ve bought a packet (yeah they are sold in packets), I forgot to take it to a friends place.
So I had this packet of potatoes for frying sitting on my counter waiting for me to do something with them.
Last Monday I did.
The plan is make crispy, thinly cut, fried potatoes. Having them like that has some clear advantages: I could do all the pack at once fry and freeze them.
Days and days of crispy potato goodness were calling for me!
First step use a large grater and soak the grated potatoes on water.
Soaking is great because it removes much of the starch from the juices the grated potato expels.
But watch it leave it too much time and the potato will turn brown. Do a 5 minutes soak and that’s it.
The ground rules: Frying
What we want:
1) Dry crisp potatoes
2) Somewhat clean kitchen afterwards
3) Be safe
4) Not overly oil smelling house
(Probably Not in that order)
To do that we need:
A Heavy Pan, Cast iron or aluminium: They not only store more heat as they conduct better when you add cold mass ie. potatoes to the oil.
Use a safe oil: I use Canola oil, high smoking point and no taste.
Keep the temperature: The oil has to be bubbling all the time there’s food frying. If it stopped bubbling either because it is too cold or because your food run out of steam one thing happens: The food will soak in oil.
Additional safety tips: Never add food that is wet. Add in small portions. Careful with floods if you add too much stuff at once.
The importance of drying
Once soaked the potato strings should be dried before going into the fryer. Water in hot oil is a very bad idea.
Steam and spatter will not only make a mess but also be very dangerous.
My drying I do with a salad spinner and paper towels.
Spin first and then arrange them on layers between paper towels.
Heat the oil and I using a cast iron dutch oven give it time to warm up.
Try with individual potato strings when you thing the temperature is right.
Add a little batch of potatoes and stand back. It will create some foaming and sizzling.
From time to time give the strings a stir around until they are golden and the sizzling is almost stopped.
Drain on a colander with paper towels.
Work in the next batch.
Wait for them to cool and dry. Salt if you want.
Then they are cold enough move them into a airtight container and freeze it.
They will keep the crunch for a month.. maybe even more..
Personally, I’ve never seen them last more than a week, but I’ve heard tales..
Intermission! Fried leeks: the best snack ever
So I had a hot pan of oil and I was doing batch after batch of string potatoes when my mind went looking for more things to fry. Its only natural! Instead of creating things like fried butter or the like I found a stalk of leek in the fridge.
Here is probably one of the most greatest and easiest snack possible (if you have hot oil in a pan ready for frying).
Clean and cut the leek in rings. Salt a little and toss with the flour and the paprika
Let it rest for at least 5 minutes so that the flour and juices from the leek can become a batter.
Deep fry them as you were doing the string potatoes.. serve either with a dollop of sour cream or with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Using the frozen string potatoes
They have very little water in them so they do not need much time to warm and they can be eaten direct from the freezer
There are couple of ways of using them.
First is just open the container grab a handful and stuff your face with them.
If you are gonna use them all just take out of the freezer open the container and let it come to temperature.
Use either as a garnish or as side dish.
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