Bye, Bye, Miss American Fry

I’ve always loved potatoes — baked, mashed, creamed, boiled, roasted, you name it — but the ones that make me swoon are fried potatoes.

My fondness for sauteed spuds hails back to my roots, when my folks would take us “up north” fishing.  I can still picture Mom cooking Dad’s early morning catch (generally walleye) in a cast iron skillet, adjacent to a larger skillet filled with sliced potatoes sizzling in butter.  Their aroma would waft through the open screen door to mingle with pine, birch, and lake-scented air and beckon me to blaze a trail to the table, where all of the above was served on a Melmac plate with a side of toast.

Breakfast doesn’t get much finer than that.

During “the trucking years” I looked forward to breakfast more than any other meal — particularly breakfast potatoes.  After a day or night of shifting gears across America, I’d search for a good ol’ fashioned truck stop — not one of those huge, hundred-acre mega-plexes, but a “Mom & Pop” joint — neat and tidy, with a little wear and tear around the edges, and a cook who looked like they’d put in a few miles, too.

After perusing the “breakfast section” of the menu, I’d order any combo that came with American Fries (sometimes hailed as “home fries”) and anticipate that mound of crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside, hand-peeled, hand-cut spuds, pan-fried to a golden brown.  Depending on which region I was in (and which cook was slinging hash), the spuds would hint of butter, bacon grease, or lard — but, they were never greasy — and they typically sported diced onion or peppers.   Potato perfection.

Then came the convenience food revolution and a noticeable decline in “American fries” — often replaced by mechanically cut, frozen cubes dunked in a deep fryer.   Not the same!  I could almost hear Don McClean crooning, “Bye… bye… Miss American Fry…”

Thankfully, I ran across a recipe in the “good ol’ days” that never fails to deliver the taste and texture I’ve been missing.  Although billed as a ‘salad’ (Warm Irish Potato Salad, these spuds are entirely suitable for breakfast, and worthy of their title.

American Fries (adapted from ‘The Local’ linked above)

4 c. red potatoes, diced

8 slices bacon, diced

1/2 c. malt vinegar

4 green onions, sliced

4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook potatoes in boiling water until almost tender; drain.  Rinse with cold water; place in a sieve to drain thoroughly.

In the meantime, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove to paper toweling to drain.  Reserve drippings in skillet.

Heat bacon drippings over high heat; add potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium-high; cook and turn with a spatula until potatoes are browned evenly.  Add malt vinegar; stir gently until vinegar is evaporated.  Remove pan from heat.  Add green onions, parlsey, and bacon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

As I said, breakfast doesn’t get much finer than that.

Enjoying spud nostalgia,

~ Kim

What kind of potatoes do you like?

16 thoughts on “Bye, Bye, Miss American Fry

  1. I love this! I love drenching my chips in malt vinegar so I know I’ll love this version. I could do with some right now, it’s making my tummy growl!

    • Ping, I had the pleasure of experiencing malt vinegar on potatoes (aka chips) a number of years ago (we won’t count the number, ha ha!) and I’ve loved that flavor ever since. Stomach growling is allowed here at the lake (also known as “borborigma!) ENJOY!

  2. Just back from shopping trip in Korea Phew! I’m dead tired now. It’s nice to be greeted by a lovely recipe.

    I love all kinds of potato, whichever way done too. Yummy! Lots of blog hopping to catch up :) Have a good week ahead!

  3. Yum! Fried potatoes are my favorite too. And a good breakfast potato–nothing can take its place. I’m excited to try out your recipe! And I love the stories of your trucking days that show up now and then.

  4. I’ve never had proper American fries. I ordered them at a local restaurant recently (they were called Ranch Potatoes) for the first time and was so disappointed. They were just square fries and were sooo oily. These look so much better!

    • Thanks, Veronica! I’m sure there are still places out there that make them the way they’re supposed to be, but they’re few and far between. Hope you’ll give these a try!

  5. Good pictures, Kim. I can smell the malt vinegar and bacon. We sometimes eat breakfast for dinner and this would definitely be something that we’d enjoy.

    • Dawn, we eat “breakfast anytime,” too! For an added kick, throw in a chopped jalapeno — or diced red peppers — or onions — or, or, or… :) This is just the bare bones recipe, but I’ve been known to melt a handful of cheese over the top now and then, too… Enjoy!

    • Tina, I think a lot of folks equate “fried potatoes” with grease-dripping, mushy spuds. (Such is not the case — I wouldn’t eat them if they were!) Many thanks for dropping by the lake. :)

  6. I can almost taste the crispness that are these beauties from here I swear – if i was not a sweet addict there is no doubt in my mind I would eat potatoes for every meal :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Miss Uru, I could eat sweets for every meal. :) Probably better that I don’t (!!!) — let’s just say, these potatoes help balance my diet! Thanks for your gracious comments.

    • Glad you liked the title! Sometimes I can’t help myself… :) The malt vinegar is the crowning touch in this recipe — just a hint comes through — reminds me of a trip to England many, many years ago and the fish & chips that I so enjoyed. Thanks for popping in!

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