Homefries. We all know what they should taste like – but why are the results so typically disappointing? One of my least favorite things in a diner is typically the homefries. They are usually greasy and cold in the middle, but being an optimist by nature I usually try them in new places. Hey you never know, right?
And for years I tried to make pan-fried homefries that would live up to my expectations. Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. Why is that so hard?
The derivations I’ve tried are:
From leftover baked potatoes
Cubed, parboiled and then cooked in butter
Cubed, parboiled and then cooked in oil (but not deep fried)
Deep fried, which works – but is a lot of effort when you’ve just rolled out of bed
And those different techniques had varying degrees of success/failure. Then I stumbled on the perfect way to make homefries. Just roast them! It’s a simple way to cook when you’re still half asleep and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of deep frying. Also, it’s foolproof. It creates amazingly crispy potatoes. I love making it with red onion and jalapenos for a bright and colorful breakfast. Dipping each forkful into homemade salsa for a little kick is also a great way to wake up your taste buds.
Of course you could even make them more decadent by the addition of melted pepperjack cheese.
Or you could make them even hotter by adding salsa to the spicy pepperjack.
This recipe works well for 2-4 people or you could double it or quadruple it to feed an army.
Homefries Three Ways
4 medium russet potatoes, well scrubbed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, diced
¼ cup of pickled jalapenos
Pepperjack cheese, shredded or cubed
¼ cup of salsa
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Dice the jalapenos and let drain on paper towels. (Believe it or not, they contain a lot of moisture, so you want them to be as dry as possible when you add them to the pan.) Then, dice the potatoes so each piece is roughly the same size.
On a large rimmed cookie sheet toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Using a metal spatula, flip the potatoes. (The potatoes should come up without sticking to the pan. If they stick to the pan and come apart, let them a cook a couple of minutes longer and try it again.) Add the onion and jalapenos. Toss well with the potatoes. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if it seems that the potatoes have absorbed most of the initial oil. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the onions are soft and all of the potatoes are brown.
Serve with a dipping sauce like salsa or steak sauce.
Homefries with Melted Cheese
Remove the homefries from the pan, and put onto an ovenproof plate or large ramekin. Place the cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted, but not browned. This is actually one of the few times when you don’t want browned cheese – it’s nice to have the contrast of the crispy potatoes and gooey cheese.
Serve plain, or with salsa and cilantro.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)