When we were young, we would visit with Yiayia and Pappou every week. In some lucky families, these visits are more frequent since Yiayia and Pappou live in the same house! But, one of the things that we remember very clearly is that Yiayia always had something to eat in the oven, on the stove, or laid out on the table. If we were lucky, she would be in the process of making something yummy when we arrived, and we would get the freshest of fresh food. One of our all time favourites was the fried potatoes.
Today, we may just refer to fried potatoes with a generic title of French Fries. But, what about Greek fries? Is there such a thing? In some restaurants, there are Greek Style Fries, which typically have a plate of fries topped with feta cheese and oregano. After all, once you add feta cheese, food automatically becomes Greek, right? We are making fried potatoes like Yiayia used to make -- and they are real Greek fries made by Greeks for Greeks and eaten by Greeks, but we are not using any feta cheese!
The first thing that we want to do is introduce our new gadget. You have seen all through this blog that we like various appliances and gadgets to make cooking easier. Well, this gadget does that for us, too. This is the Curtis Stone Chop Chop Deluxe Food Chopper. We love the red colour, and more so, we love the ease of cutting potatoes. With the different attachments, we can have a variety of shapes including potato sticks (fries), wedges, or slices. Yiayia, of course, cut her potatoes by hand, and you can do that, too. We thought it would be fun to use the tool!
Some people will say that you have to choose the right kind of potato to make fries. They say the same about having the right kind of potatoes for baked potato. For us, we lean toward Russet potatoes for baked or fried potatoes, and yellow or Yukon Gold for other dishes. The 'drier' potatoes make for fluffy fries. Yiayia would have chosen potatoes that were in the kitchen already -- the one she bought on her weekly shopping trip, whatever colour or type they were. Regardless of the type of potato she sued, her fried potatoes were always yummy.
For this recipe, you will need the following:
Oil for frying
Salt, Oregano, Lemon Juice to taste
Wash the potatoes. You can wash the potatoes and cut them with skins on, or you can peel the potatoes, wash and cut them. Regardless of which one you choose, please make sure to remove any eyes, blemishes, and dirt.
Cut the potatoes into stick shapes (fries). You can cut them thin or thick, but they should be as even as possible. Our Chop Chop Deluxe cuts pieces uniformly. If we had square, uniform veggies, we could have perfectly uniform pieces. Since nature does not produce uniform, perfectly shaped food, cut the pieces as equally sized as possible.
Rinse the potato pieces one more time and allow the water to drain. You don't want the fries perfectly dry, but they cannot be dripping wet, either. Once you shake the colander and allow it to sit there while you heat the oil, the potato pieces should be dry enough for cooking.
Heat frying oil in a pan so that it is just deeper than the potatoes. You want the top of the oil to skim over the top of the potatoes. Yiayia would use a deep pot and deep fry the potatoes. We find it is easier to manage in a frying pan. This is a personal preference, and you will have to choose whichever cooking utensil you prefer or have handy. Either pan will work, and you will know the oil is hot enough when you drop a small piece of potato into the oil and it fries on contact, or when the oil reaches 325º F (about 163º C).
Put enough potato pieces in the hot oil so the pan is full but the potatoes are not touching too much. You may want to do this in smaller batches.
Cook (fry) the potatoes for 5-7 minutes, moving them around the pan regularly. You will see the first side of the fries turn that beautiful golden brown. Make sure to turn the fries over so that each side has a chance to tan. After the potatoes cook and have uniform colour all around, remove them from the oil and place them on a bundle of folded paper towels to collect any excess oil.
While the fried potatoes are draining, sprinkle them with salt, oregano, and lemon juice. The residual oil from frying will hold the salt and oregano on the potatoes. And, the lemon juice will drip all over the outside of the fries. Toss the fries around to make sure that all are coated with some of each seasoning. Then, put them on a serving dish and serve. In some houses, the fries never make it to the serving dish, we eat them off the paper towels. Enjoy!
St. John Chrysostomos
Source of quote: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4589154.John_Chrysostom