Thursday, 4 March 2010

Fried potatoes with paprika and mint

I was in a bind. I'd not done the weekly grocery shop as fridge space and time was at a premium getting ready for my big party. I literally just had staples in the house, and no chance to get groceries in before the weekend! It was a bit of a challenge, but the Young Man and I managed to eat very well, thanks to a binder full of recipes like this one I printed up ages ago from NPR.

S&L readers will probably already be familiar with the quintessentially Turkish paprika-mint flavour profile. It seems to have been news to NPR food writer T Susan Chang, however. She charmingly tells of her discovery here, and throws in a few recipes for good measure, including some adaptations of recipes from Australia's very own Greg and Lucy Malouf!

Essentially just potatoes, fat and spices, these are totally addictive! I made them to go with a red lentil soup (not the one in the article), so we had a Turkish supper made only from kitchen cupboard basics. I reckon these would also be great with beers (if you're into that) or instead of potato chips in front of the TV (if you have time for that).

I've upped the paprika and mint by 50% below, and added some cayenne to my own portion. Enough is just never enough with some people (g).

Fried potatoes with paprika and mint

900 g yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon gold or carola
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons sweet paprika, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon dried mint, divided
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Fill a large saucepan with water; add the potatoes and as much salt as if you were cooking pasta. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size of potatoes, or until you can just pierce them with a sharp skewer. They shouldn't fall apart. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.

2 When the potatoes are cool enough to handle (and don't rush it), cut into 8 mm slices with a sharp knife. If you have large potatoes, divide them lengthwise in half before you start slicing, so you end up with half-moons rather than coins.

3 Heat the largest, heaviest skillet you have — cast iron works best — over high heat until it makes a water droplet dance. Add the olive oil, swirl it and immediately add the potatoes, half the paprika and half the mint. Spread the potatoes out into a single layer as best you can (you may need to do two batches). Let them cook without disturbing for 3 or 4 minutes, or until they have formed a gorgeous golden crust. Flip them over with a spatula, and cook the other side the same way, for 3 or 4 minutes. (If you're really obsessive about getting a good crust, as I am, you may find yourself swapping the outside potatoes into the center a few times.) [Me too, Susan]

4 Season with the remaining paprika and mint, and salt to taste. You don't really need pepper, but you might like it. Serve immediately.


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