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How to make diner style home fries?

j
jimchou71 Nov 17, 2013 10:37 AM

Hi,

Could anyone point me to a recipe for diner style home fries (not the cubes but the kind that are kind of flat and have sat on the griddle getting nice and crusty on the outside)? I must be in the minority because all the recipes I see are for the cubed kind or on occasion scalloped potato type things. But this is the style I grew up with in NY and I luv them! Just can't figure out how to do it! Here's a pic http://www.pinterest.com/jimchou70/yu.... Thanks!

  1. c oliver Nov 17, 2013 11:30 AM

    I do a "stacked potatoes" recipe in a CI skillet that could probably be adapted for home fries. Here's the original recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 -inches in diameter)
    3/4 lb. red potatoes (about 2 -inches in diameter)
    3/4 cup Rumiano Dry Jack Cheese (in our Deli), divided finely shredded
    1/4 cup butter melted
    2 tbsp. fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme and sage) chopped
    1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
    3/4 tsp. McCormick Smokehouse Pepper
    1/2 tsp. sea salt
    4 cloves garlic minced

    Directions:
    Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 40 to 45 minutes Makes: 12 potato stacks
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Cut potatoes into very thin slices, discarding rounded ends. Place in a large bowl with 1/2 cup cheese, butter, herbs, mustard, pepper, salt and garlic. Mix well with your hands, separating potato slices so that all are as evenly coated with mixture as possible. Stack slices in prepared muffin cups. Scrape bowl to remove all butter mixture and spoon over potatoes; top with remaining cheese.
    3. Bake for 20 minutes, then tent with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

    I sub oo and usually use cheddar cheese. For breakfast you just stick with potatoes and whatever seasoning you prefer. Here are a couple of pix.

     
     
    1. greygarious Nov 17, 2013 12:38 PM

      Boil or steam whole peeled potatoes (waxy or regular, not Russet/Idaho). Chill. Halve or quarter lengthwise, slice crosswise about 1/4" thick. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, with oil, butter, or (preferably) bacon fat, start sauteeing some chopped onion, add the potatoes and stir gently to mix. In a diner they'd do this on a flat-top griddle, weighing the potatoes down. Press on your potatoes with a pancake turner, or weigh down with a smaller pan. When a good crust forms, flip the potatoes and repeat. Don't do a lot of stirring or you'll break up the potatoes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious
        s
        Springhaze2 Nov 17, 2013 12:48 PM

        Exactly what greygarious said...

      2. f
        fourunder Nov 17, 2013 04:03 PM

        I'll have to disagree a little with others....here in New Jersey...and the King of Greek Diners...most all use Russets, or what are commonly known as Chef Potatoes. These are the large potatoes you see in the markets sold individually by the pound from large bins.

        Like others have indicated. Boil the potatoes. I suggest you cook them slightly underdone so they can slice a little easier and you can finish them in the pan.

        Many diners will add onions, the butter browns them easier. Some will include granulated garlic or onion.....many Greek diners will also include Paprika to add some more color. For some reasons unknown, they put it in, or on, everything.

        5 Replies
        1. re: fourunder
          greygarious Nov 17, 2013 04:37 PM

          I defer to your restaurant experience, fourunder, since I have none. I can see why professional kitchens would prefer large russets - easier and faster to peel, slice. But don't you think they are more fragile for making fried potatoes than less starchy varieties are? Personally, I seldom buy potatoes with a specific use in mind. I'll bake Yukon Golds or Red Bliss if that's what I have on hand (I generally toss a few spuds onto the oven rack when baking something - anything - to multitask the oven. I've made home fries from leftover baked russets and found they crumbled a lot (no surprise there), but I can't specifically recall whether or not I've used boiled or steamed russets for home fries.

          1. re: greygarious
            f
            fourunder Nov 17, 2013 04:52 PM

            Personally, I like the russets for Home Fries and Hash Browns. They brown up nicely when an appropriate amount of butter/fat is used. I certainly agree that russets can break down easier, especially when overcooked, but I actually like when the some potatoes are softer than others...it's like having home fries and hash browns together at the same time.

            Like yourself, I try to be very practical and efficient theses days. With regard to potatoes on hand, whether boiling or baked, I like to have extras made for the next day...or for something like mashed potatoes, have extra for leftovers, croquettes or Cream of Potato soup.

            Finally. I think for HBs or HFs... They need to cooled or refrigerated with skins on....then sliced or grated the next day for best results from my experience. Cool or cold makes it easier to slice or cut.

            1. re: fourunder
              greygarious Nov 17, 2013 05:31 PM

              Actually, I almost never peel potatoes but I wasn't going to get into that because of potatoes' position on the Dirty Dozen vegetable pesticide list, and the aesthetic objections some folks have to skin-on potatoes. I prefer "dirty smashed" to smoothly-whipped so if I'm cooking just for myself, the skins stay on, for fiber's sake.

              1. re: greygarious
                f
                fourunder Nov 17, 2013 05:49 PM

                I just soak them for a couple of hours....drain, rinse under the faucet with hands, or scrub with brush as needed.

                Too much trouble to peel....unless I'm doing a look for presentation with small red bliss.

            2. re: greygarious
              coll Nov 17, 2013 06:34 PM

              Diner style=chef potatoes. If we're going for "authentic" here, there is no substitute!

          2. n
            ninrn Nov 17, 2013 05:46 PM

            To everybody who's posted here: Do you think jimchou71 (and I) can really achieve diner flattop style home fries at home? I'm willing to give it a shot if you think so, but it seems like at least 2/3's of the goodness in those potatoes comes from the flattop itself.

            7 Replies
            1. re: ninrn
              f
              fourunder Nov 17, 2013 05:53 PM

              A French Pan (Carbon Steel) or Cast Iron is best. Most older Grill Tops are made with Cast Iron.

              The transfer of flavor from the flat top to the food is a myth.

              1. re: fourunder
                n
                ninrn Nov 17, 2013 06:02 PM

                I wasn't thinking of the flavor coming from the flat top, so much as the texture you get from years and years of seasoning and the way heat is dispersed from such a giant slab of cast iron.

                1. re: ninrn
                  f
                  fourunder Nov 17, 2013 06:14 PM

                  Flat tops are scrubbed clean every night...they aren't seasoned. Seasoned pans only prevent sticking. Cast iron and carbon steel disperse heat very well...and maintain heat very well. The only thing a flat top gives you is more surface area.

                  1. re: fourunder
                    coll Nov 17, 2013 06:35 PM

                    Fry in cast iron with a press on top. Can't go wrong.

                  2. re: ninrn
                    greygarious Nov 17, 2013 06:18 PM

                    I enjoy the home fries I make at home just as much as I do the diner version, sometimes more (I always include onion and some of them use little or none).

                    It's not labor-intensive or expensive to make, so try, and judge for yourself. Make sure the chill is off the sliced potatoes before you start to fry, so they start crisping right away and don't soak up a lot of fat. If in a rush, spread them on a plate and nuke on low power for a couple of minutes before frying, to warm them up.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      j
                      jimchou71 Nov 17, 2013 08:23 PM

                      I am psyched to give it a try next weekend! Thanks for the guidance!

                      1. re: jimchou71
                        coll Nov 18, 2013 05:28 AM

                        To get them crispy can take up to a half hour, even if parboiled, so give yourself some time. If they're not almost burnt, I'm not happy.

              2. Atomic76 Nov 17, 2013 09:33 PM

                Peel, quarter and slice the potatoes about 1/8th of an inch thick. Par boil them until they are almost to the point where they would fall apart if you picked up a slice, but not quite. Let them rest in the strainer until all the steam is gone and they start to dry out a bit. Even better if you prep these the night before.

                Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan. Too little and/or if it's too cold, the potatoes will soak it all up and they won't get golden and crispy.

                I prefer to use a garlic infused olive oil - fresher taste than garlic powder, and you don't have to worry about burning fresh garlic. Other than that, I just add sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and paprika (or even better, smoked paprika if you got it). Then I top it off with fresh chives for the onion aroma (I don't like cooking white onions with the potatoes because they end up slimy).

                Don't keep flipping the potatoes, let them get golden around the edges, then flip them and add a tad more oil if needed to brown the other side. Also, don't overcrowd the pan if you are making a lot, use a larger pan instead.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Atomic76
                  coll Nov 18, 2013 05:29 AM

                  Don't forget the parsley! It need a little color.

                2. i_am_Lois Nov 18, 2013 11:48 AM

                  In my youth I worked in a 'greasy spoon' that served the kind of home fries you mention. The potatoes were peeled, then boiled whole the day before. Placed in a container, covered with water then refrigerated. The day of use we cut in quarters, then sliced. They were put on the grill, which was oiled first. We didn't move them around much so they would get crispy. This particular business seasoned the frying potatoes with salt, pepper & paprika. The onions were cooked separately & tossed in at the end. From various attempts to duplicate the flavor at home this is what works best for me in my own kitchen: Peel & slice raw potatoes into pieces for desired thickness. Place in bowl with a pat of butter. Cover with plastic wrap & microwave on high 5 minutes. About half way through, give them a toss so the cook evenly. Transfer to skillet & fry over med/hi heat. Season with salt, pepper & paprika (or desired spices). Flip occasionally so they brown fairly evenly. If onions are desired, cook them separately & add at the just before serving. (Onions cooked with the potatoes tend to soften the crispiness you acquired during frying.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: i_am_Lois
                    i_am_Lois Nov 18, 2013 12:19 PM

                    PS - The 'greasy spoon I worked in was in Philadelphia. NY & Philly have many similar dishes. I know the home fries you are speaking about. Also, sometimes I skip adding onion & instead will then add a dash of garlic powder to the potatoes as I microwave them.

                  2. Gastronomos Nov 19, 2013 09:22 AM

                    New York area here. Jersey style diner home fries. Old school. Not what is generally found today.
                    I talked with several old school grillmen that worked in the "greek" diners of the 1960's 1970's.

                    Boil russet (Idaho) potatoes.
                    slice or chop.
                    add bacon fat/grease to heavy pan or flat top.
                    add potatoes.
                    add ontop of this, chopped onions and some chopped green bell peppers.
                    add copious amounts of bacon fat/grease.
                    add some paprika, purely for color.*
                    stir through, and leave alone until crispy only on the one side.
                    serve with crusty browned side facing up.

                    *several grillman, now in their 80's have told me that they would always add any leftover baked potatoes from the previous nights dinner service and because of that a dash of ground cumin would also be added along with the paprika. that is to help with the "leftover" taste as home fries are esentially hash.

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