I know. I know.
Simple cooking is my thing and what am I doing making my own waffle cut potatoes? Well, my boy Otis, who is just shy of ten, wanted to make dinner for the family. He had a menu in mind... steak, salad with walnuts and his own signature salad dressing, and waffle cut potatoes. How could I deny my boy the fun of cooking this delicious meal? I kept reminding myself that at least the steak and salad were simple enough.
In the end, these potatoes were indeed labor intensive and really really good. Otis' first dinner party (he invited our neighbors to join us) was an elegant and tasty affair. I was impressed with his ambition and determination....and all of our bellies were very happy.
from Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables
- 6 medium Russets Potatoes
- 2 quarts Peanut Oil
- Special cooking items: thermometer for the oil, mandolin with waffle setting
Peel potatoes. Place in cold water until ready to ready to slice.
Get out your mandolin and set it to the 1/16 inch waffle cut setting. Take one potato out of the cold water bath, slice in half and run it across the mandolin waffle blade. (I only let Otis use this mandolin because he is one of the most careful guys I know.)
You want the potatoes to be thin, but not so thin they are fragile. I think we made ours a bit too thin and they were a little crumbly.
After each each slice, turn the potato 180 degrees to make for a criss-crossed pattern.
Wow. It felt like I bit of a miracle that a potato was so quickly transformed to waffle form.
While you are slicing potatoes, place the finished waffled potatoes into a large bowl of cool water until you are done with all the slicing.
Place full bowl of sliced potatoes under cold running water for about 15 minutes until all the potato starch is removed that the water is no longer cloudy.
In the meantime, start to heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pot on the stove top. Place a candy thermometer in the pan to monitor the temperature.
When all the starch has been washed away. Transfer slices to paper towels to dry thoroughly before frying.
When the potatoes are sliced are dry and the oil is at 365 degrees, start to cook slices in smallish batches. Cook quickly until golden brown.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked potatoes to a dry paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Keep warm until serving.
Our neighbor remarked that these homemade waffle cut potatoes were so much more potato-y then the store bought version. Without the total salt overkill of their commercial brothers, you can really taste the essence of the potato.