One thing I’ve always struggled with was nice, crispy and tasty diner-style home fries made at home. They never really lived up to their name to me. I always had a problem both completely cooking them through and also insuring a nice brown, crispy exterior that provided most of the flavor.
Well recently I finally managed to get the hang of them, first with the Garbage Plate recipe and finally when I tried making my favorite brunch place signature breakfast at home. Also it’s really easy when you get the technique down.
To begin, peel and wash some russet potatoes. Then boil them in water with some white vinegar and salt. This will cook them through and the vinegar will toughen them up a bit and make sure the potatoes don’t fall apart when you fry them later. When they’re almost done, meaning you can poke them with a paring knife and get just a little resistance, like you were poking a block of tofu. That means they’re done. Drain into a sieve.
Heat up a cast iron skillet with a decent amount of oil. Get it uniformly hot but not scorching. You want to brown them but not burn and it’s way too easy to go overboard. Spread out the potatoes evenly in the skillet trying to give them a bit more than half an inch of space between them to give them room to let out moisture and let them brown. Most importantly, keep an eye on them but DO NOT touch them too often. Moving them around will prevent browning. It’ll take about 3 minutes to get a good crust per side. Once one side is brown, give the pans a shake and keep going trying to get as many sides as possible brown. Do them in batches if necessary to keep the skillet from overcrowding.
Once they’re nice and brown, move them to a paper towel lined plate. Season with a pinch of salt and maybe a little paprika if you’re like me. This works just about every time.