Why It Works
- Par-cooking the potatoes ensures that they fry up extra crisp.
- Adding vinegar to the par-cooking water limits the breakdown of pectin, which helps the potatoes retain their shape as they soften.
- Sautéing the onions and roasting the peppers separately gives them more flavor and allows the potatoes to stay crisp until the last moment.
Every bite of soggy, greasy potatoes at a diner is a reminder of what great home fries can be. Every trip to the diner is like a unicorn hunt—we're chasing those perfect, crisp home fries, but rarely catch more than a glimpse of them. Home fries should be crisp on the outside and creamy in the middle, packed with potato flavor, with some herbs and onions mixed in. Peppers are optional, but they're a nice option to include. The good news: You don't even have to leave home to catch that unicorn. Here's how.
- 1 medium fresh Poblano pepper (optional; see note)
- 1 1/4 pounds (575g) small new or fingerling potatoes
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil, divided
- 1 small red onion, cut into thick slices
- 2 teaspoons (about 4g) minced fresh thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Small handful minced fresh cilantro or parsley
If using, place Poblano pepper directly over the flame of a gas burner, turning with tongs until well charred on all surfaces. Alternatively, place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet directly under a preheated broiler and broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Wrap charred pepper in foil to trap steam, and set aside. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove skin from pepper (it should slip right off). Remove and discard stems and seeds. Cut into strips.
Meanwhile, place potatoes in a pot and cover with 2 quarts (2L) of cold water. Add 2 tablespoons (30g) kosher salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes after they reach a boil. Drain. As soon as potatoes are cool enough to handle, split into quarters and toss with 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil in a bowl.
To Finish: Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add potatoes and cook, tossing, until crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Return to bowl.
Add remaining tablespoon (15ml) oil to skillet and add red onion (see note). Cook, tossing occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return potatoes to skillet and add roasted pepper strips, if using. Toss to combine and season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper. Add cilantro or parsley and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
The recipe can be prepared through the end of step 2 before completing. Store the roasted chilies and the parboiled potatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before continuing. I love the flavor of roasted Poblano pepper strips in this dish, but it adds quite a bit of prep time, and the home fries will be delicious even without them. If you decide not to roast the pepper, you can either omit it completely or simply slice a Poblano or bell pepper and sauté it along with the onion in step 4.