Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oven Fry Wars

We here at the Hackknife Commissary are always looking for new ways to showcase the humble yet satisfying Russet potato. I'll often nuke a couple of them to get a quick-and-dirty baked potato on the plate or throw together some garlic mashed (which, unfortunately, is a little high-maintenance for a weeknight), but the family tends to prefer something with a little more pizazz. At the moment, my go-to oven fries recipe can be found on the back of the Lipton onion soup mix box Lipton Onion Roasted Potatoes - it's quick (you mix the ingredients in a Ziploc and throw it on a baking sheet), tasty, and relatively healthy except for the high sodium content of the soup mix. As of tonight, however, I think I may have a worthy challenger....

Santa was kind enough to bring me a Tyler Florence cookbook for Xmas this year (most of my gifts were food-themed, actually, but that's probably material for another slow day). This particular cookbook (entitled "The Ultimate") claims to contain simple recipes that turn out amazingly well (my dad and stepmom in Florida, who are very accomplished home cooks, swear by anything with TF's imprint on it). I've now attempted 4 recipes from this book and have found that 3 of the 4 live up to the published billing (and I'm willing to concede that the 4th one might have come up short due to, um, operator error). This evening seemed the perfect time to audition Tyler's oven fries recipe Parmesan Oven Fries, as I was looking for a starch to go with our standby house roasted chicken. It's about as easy as Lipton's: cut your potatoes into thick wedges, mix them with olive oil and salt, roast at 425F for 35 minutes, then add fresh parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. That's it. Getting the cheese can be a little tricky - PR is somewhat expensive (about $12/pound) and you'll likely need to locate your friendly neighborhood Italian market or cheese shop to find it, but it's well worth the trouble (because, hey, extra cheese for snacking). Anyway, other than the fine aromatic haze permeating the Hackkife household due to the high-temp use of olive oil (another future topic), I was pleased with the final product. Even the notoriously-fussy Hackknife Jr. ate a whole potato wedge, which really should be my ultimate (no pun intended) seal of approval. I also found an extra bonus while cleaning up - the mixed-up conglomeration of parsley, grated cheese, and olive oil that remained in the mixing bowl was ever-so-tasty (no, I don't feel any shame over that).

Next step: showcase the new oven fries recipe for Mrs. Hackknife when she returns from Iowa and let her weigh in. Until then....

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