Saturday, August 1st was a day of celebration. We welcomed friends of the blog and friends the person behind it, Matt and Jill Cox, for a day of board games and feasting to celebrate Matt’s birthday during their visit to Green Bay. It’s only a slight exaggeration when I say that I slaved over a bubbling vat of oil to create for them the closest thing I could to the perfect Taco Bell potato. I went so far as to test four different varieties, both battered and fried straight.
Even in commercial supermarkets, a wide variety of potatoes are open to consumers. I had the great pleasure of acquiring German Butterball potatoes from the Farmers market last week, and the grocery store had the usual suspects: Yukon Golds, Russets, and our wildcard, fingerlings. Of them all, german butterball potatoes are the hardest to find in a grocery store, so I knew from the moment I bought them that I would only call for them if they blew the other varieties out of the water.
Every variety of potato was washed and then cut, skin on, into small pieces. I am a full believer in the boil, freeze, fry method-- so that's what I did. As soon as one variety finished boiling, I laid them out on a labeled sheet tray and stowed them back in the freezer. There they froze for almost three hours while we played a game of Settlers of Catan, and then our visitors went shopping. I excused myself from the fun table to start frying potatoes shortly after they returned from their shopping trip.
I heated a pot of oil to 350 fahrenheit and began first with the german butterballs. The beauty of these small cuts is how quickly they fry up to a beautiful brown and crispy exterior. By the time I passed out my testers from the variety, the next would be done, and I would make the swing around the fun table with the next variety all over again.
We also tried a jalapeno beer batter on every variety. That jalapeno beer batter will be an exclusive recipe on patreon next week, but we’ve figured out exactly what variety of potato will be going into our cheesy fiesta potatoes, loaded potato grillers, and soft potato tacos.
Testing parameters remained the same for every variety-- a good five minutes in the oil, drained on a sheet of paper towel and dusted with salt and pepper and then paprika for color. In the end, we decided that there could only be one potato for either version I developed for you here at Eating Normal.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to crown the Yukon Gold as the king of fried potato mountain. Not only is it a widely available variety in most US grocery stores, you can keep the skin on it much like the fiesta potatoes of Taco Bell without risking the unpleasant texture that is left behind by the skins of a russet potato.
The german butterballs also achieved this balance of potato skin and creamy interior, but they are a somewhat special variety that I only have access to through my local farmer’s market. The fingerlings? They were nothing special. Their skins broke down easily when eaten, but the shapes cut from the natural shape of the fingerling didn’t lend itself visually to the fiesta potato.
Tomorrow, our Yukon Gold potato technique will be posted as part of our cheesy fiesta potato recipe. That’s the potato for you all the way through the next few recipes, all of which will be those lovely potato menu items that will be gone by the end of this weekend. Rest in peace, you delicious little bastards.
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