Inga's Indulgence

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Almighty Tater

In my opinion, the potato was a gift from up above. Though it wasn’t exactly the greatest looking or smelling fellow from the get-go, once our predecessors figured out what to do with it, man did it take over. Aside from being one of America’s most popular crops, potatoes are versatile as heck. The ultimate side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner, spuds seem to have most people salivating just thinking about them.
I happen to like potatoes because they’re easy. Yeah, I said it. When I need to get lunch or dinner on the table pronto or when I unexpectedly end up with a swarm of hungry people in my house, it is none other than the potato that saves the day. They cook in no time and they’re a guaranteed success (unless you undercook them, don’t undercook them). Think about it, have you ever met anyone that didn’t like a potato? Me neither.
With the help of characters like butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon, etc. it’s unsurprising why many seem to forget that the potato is in fact a vegetable with lots of essential nutrients and vitamins like fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, just to name a few. Yes, we do love and require crispy fries, cheesy potato gratin, and creamy mashed potatoes on occasion. We mustn’t forget, however, that sometimes the potato is strong enough to stand on its own.
One of my all-time favorite potato preparations highlights the star ingredient beautifully, and is, perhaps, one of the simplest recipes you will ever make. My Oven-Roasted Steak Fries have a short ingredient list and a load of flavor. The cooking medium performs two important functions in this recipe. Besides allowing us to indulge healthily, the oven lends a beautiful roasted note. Keeping the skins on these fries also functions to retain many of the potato’s nutrients. Oh, and these guys are the perfect “soaker uppers” of any flavor profile you want to impart on them. Whenever I make this recipe, I slather them with whatever spices or flavorings I’m in the mood for, (or whatever I have on hand) whether it's barbeque sauce, garlic-dill butter, pesto, or chipotle rub.
Well, with no further adiue…
Oven Roasted Steak Fries
Yield: 4 servings

2 ½ lbs Idaho Potatoes (about 8 or 9 medium potatoes)
¼ cup canola oil
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half and then slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges, depending on the size of the potato. In a medium bowl, toss the potato wedges with oil, salt and pepper. Lay wedges onto an aluminum foil lined sheet pan. Make sure to provide adequate space between each potato. Bake potatoes 40-45 minutes until golden and tender. 
*If you want to flavor your potatoes with spices or sauces (i.e.: chili powder, cumin, pesto, barbeque, chipotle, mustard, etc.) add these to the mix before roasting.
*If you want to add a flavored butter to your potatoes (i.e.: garlic butter, herb butter, truffle butter, etc.) toss into the potatoes as soon as they come out of the oven.

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