Step 1 -Planning
Put “potatoes” on the grocery shopping list. Peruse the sale flyers to find the best price. Walmart, always, and you know you’re going to be there anyway, so…
Walmart’s potatoes suck, for this recipe anyway. Way too small. (You might understand the importance of this sometime in the future [or the past].) For now, for me, it requires an extra trip to Richards Brothers, the small, locally-owned grocery store located steps away from where I work. (I might understand the importance of this sometime in my future, or my past, but not now. Right now, for the purpose of this recipe, it requires me to make an extra trip. Wow. Such an inconvenience.)
Richards Brothers have the best potatoes. They’re a little dirty (locally-grown?!), but they’re big. And juicy. Have you ever admired a potato for its juiciness? You should. For this recipe, anyway.
Step 2 – Prep
Pour a glass of wine. This is going to take awhile. (Consider yourself warned.) (BTW, today’s a Thursday that is actually a Friday, in work-week-speak. Tomorrow off, unpaid, again, and potatoes are cheap.)
Scrub potatoes. Cool water is best to prevent oxidation of the potatoes (while they sit in the bowl during TV-commercial breaks during weird, wonderfully distracting [and relatable] network TV). [“Mom” “Angel from Hell”]
However, (frustratingly and contradictally) warm-ish water is essential in order to prevent immobility of the hands (the non-heat issue, which is at least 50% of the reason for making oven fries in the first place. The second place would be some kind of comfort-food issue having to do with ketchup.)
Slice potatoes (with the knife that you just recently had sharpened at the Ace Hardware “Ladies Night Out,” your biggest night out in, oh, about 13 years.) Pay attention now…the slicing part is kind of important.
Refresh wine. Carefully grasp knife in right hand. Place potato on (cockroach-sterilized-cutting-surface). Take a minute to pay attention to how the potato wants to rest. Let it roll. OMG, isn’t that a Steve Winwood song? I should turn on some music! Wait, no, it’s “Roll With It, Baby,” that’s what I need to do! Crap, I should dance!
Okay, I’m back.
Anyway, you really want the flattest side down. (We’re talking potatoes, still.) Really, especially since the guy at Ace said your knife was unsalvageable (or some words along that line. I doubt that he used that big of a word, no offense intended, although I felt somewhat offended when he asked me what exactly I thought I might be able to cut with such a wimpy piece of equipment. Apparently everyone else in line was preparing to butcher something.)
First in half, lengthwise. Then lay the flat side down and make more slices. Normally, you would expect me to tell you to be very precise in your thickness(es), but here’s where the fun really comes in! If you vary the size and thickness of your slices, you will, after roasting, end up with two (or maybe even three or four!) various textures and – ultimately – taste sensations. But, keep in mind that the thicker the slices, the fewer the pieces you will have to lay out – precisely – onto your baking sheets. And the more pieces, the more effort required to flip each and every single potato piece after it has perfectly browned on its bottom, and then rotated in the oven so that each pan is first up high, then down low. And you have no broiler, so no cheating allowed.
But that’s all after the fact. First, you need to – in batches – toss the sliced potatoes in a really good blend of omega-3 oils that can handle a high smoke point. (Do your own research. I used to use Smart Blend, but it’s suddenly unavailable, because I wanted it. Grapeseed oil is good…as is coconut. But, there are many caveats, another topic for another blog. This is about potatoes. [Or is it?]
Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Crap, the mill is empty and I hate chasing those damned round peppercorns around the counter top while trying to aim them into the top of the grinder. Why isn’t there an app for that? But, it’s worth the effort, and hey I’m just killing time anyway.)
Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet, taking into consideration the future rotation needs cited above (i.e. lay them parallel to each other as opposed to perpendicular). This arrangement will ultimately depend on your flipping utensil of choice [spatula versus tongs versus fingers]. (I have, on occasion, essentially skipped the whole flipping/rotation process, thus resulting in an other-worldly experience of crispy-one-side smooshy-other-side culinary experience worth experimenting with. It’s all about the journey, is it not?
Step 3 – Bake (425-450 degrees, 10-20 minutes per side, depending on your rotation/crispiness preferences.
Step 4 – Set Timer.
Step 5 – Refill wine. Remember to listen for timer.
Step 6 – Serve. Crap. I forgot to buy ketchup.
Step 7 – Cool. Package and refrigerate. Breakfast, tomorrow. I am (again and) always ready for tomorrow.
Step 8 - Refill wine? Or go to bed and call it a day…? Hmmmm.