Home fries are one of my staple meals, whether it's a weekend brunch or a weekday dinner. A plate of home fries plus a fried egg equals a delicious, easy meal. Once you know the basics, home fries are simple to prepare and take only about half an hour from start to finish, with very little involvement on your part.
Delicious at brunch or dinner
1. Selecting your potatoes
Although any potato can make a decent batch of home fries, yellow potatoes are generally recognized as one of the better varieties for this purpose. Yukon Gold is the undisputed champ of yellow potatoes, but regular old yellow potatoes in a five pound mesh bag will work well, too.
Yellow potatoes work better because the starch and SCIENCE and reasons. I don't know. All I know is, Idaho bakers often turn out grainy, and red potatoes - while good - just are not quite as delicious in this preparation.
2. The pan
I have a no-stick Teflon pan that I keep basically just for this purpose. I treat it as gently as a newborn child, and only use wooden spoons in cooking. A good non-stick pan is crucial for home fries. Otherwise the potatoes stick to the pan and become impossible to flip. And without flipping, they won't cook properly.
Add a generous few glugs of extra virgin olive oil and set the pan on medium heat to pre-heat while you dice your potatoes.
3. The dice
You want to slice up your potatoes into cubes no larger than the key on a keyboard. The smaller the better, to a certain extent. Smaller pieces cook better; the larger the pieces, the more likely they will remain crunchy and undercooked.
Mix the potatoes around in the pan to cover them with oil. Then let them be. It's important not to fuss with them, or you won't get a nice brown crust.
Give them a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. I usually like to add a little something extra, whether it's a dash of grilling spice or a sprinkle of thyme or rosemary. But resist the urge to over-spice them; it just masks the basic deliciousness that is the potatoes themselves.
Cook them for 20 minutes on medium, then reduce the heat a touch (to keep them from burning) and cook another 10 minutes. Flip them 3 or 4 times over this time period, whenever you hear the sizzle sound change and become higher-pitched. Test the larger chunks for doneness. It's better to overcook them than to undercook them. Patience is the key!