Saturday, February 7, 2009

Recipe: Skillet Roasted Home Fries

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Skillet potatoes are the earliest dish I can remember making as a boy. I have a recollection of my brother and I in the kitchen at the old house on Churchill Drive, frying up little pieces of potato in a Club cast aluminum skillet. Our mom was standing by to make sure we didn't burn the place down, but she let us do the decision-making about taste and technique.

Us boys got really excited as the potatoes transitioned from starchy, raw white hunks into browned, savory morsels. After we had sprinkled a little salt on top, we were sure that we had created a potato dish that was wholly unknown to mankind, and might even make us famous.

Our proud mother exclaimed that we had stumbled upon a version of "American Fries". I remember feeling a tinge of disappointment when she had a ready name for our creation, which suggested it was not a new invention. So maybe we weren't going to write a cookbook after all. But we were still satisfied that we had created a tasty dish without parental input.

There are (at least) a thousand ways to cook potatoes in a skillet, and this is just one of them (Skillet Roasted Vegetables and Skillet Fried Potatoes are two others). In our house, when the grill is on and the burgers are ready and waiting, there's a good chance some skillet-roasted home fries are in the works as well.

Be sure to serve with ketchup. Tomato ketchup is one of the few widely-available substances on earth that contains all five essential flavors:  sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami.

  • Russet Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Canadian Steak Seasoning
  • Oil


Pre-heat the oven on 500 degrees F. This recipe goes quicker in a convection oven, so use that setting if you have it.

Cut potatoes lengthwise into long "steak fries", The fat part of the fry shouldn't be much thicker than about a half inch. Cut thinner and they'll cook faster.

Oil a cast iron skillet, and then add the raw fries. Salt and season well with Canadian steak seasoning. If you don't have Canadian steak seasoning handy, you can use pepper and garlic. Mix the oil and seasoning around to coat all fries, and then put the skillet it in the oven on the top shelf.

Roast until done, stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning on the bottom of the skillet. Fries usually take about about 25 minutes to cook.

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