You may have heard me chatting about Eat Write Retreat in a post or two. It’s a food blogger conference being held in Philadelphia at the end of this month. It was the very first blogger conference I attended and I am really excited to be going back. They’ve set a very high standard for what to expect at such an event and I hold every other conference up to that standard.
Attendees who registered early this year were automatically entered into an Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge. We were randomly assigned with an ingredient from one of the event sponsors. I knew in advance I would be receiving a goodie box from California Figs, California Ripe Olives, California Raisins or US Potatoes. Can I just tell you how excited I was when I was placed on Team Tater? Potatoes are such a great ingredient to highlight in an appetizer.
We were sent recipe inspiration, nutritional information, an overview of the different types of potatoes, some OXO goodies and an assortment of colorful potatoes to use. I learned a lot of useful information while reading through the materials. For example: one medium-size potato has just 110 calories. With the skin it has 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium per serving as well as 45% of the recommended DV of Vitamin C.
When I found out I would be working with potatoes, my mind immediately went to French fries. However, the idea made me nervous. Could French fries possibly be considered an “Amazing Appetizer”? They’re a side dish, right?
Not necessarily. It’s true, they make an excellent side dish but what if the flavors are strong enough on their own that they’d compete with the main course? These French fries need to be served alone so that you can fully appreciate the flavors. Make a large batch of them to serve at a party. They’re coated with powdered buttermilk which melts in the mouth and when combined with the other spices, it creates a savory, mouth-watering umami flavor that will have you licking the spice off your fingers so you don’t miss a single bit of the experience.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons dried buttermilk powder
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- optional: 2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced
- optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled (see note)
- Neutral high heat oil for frying (vegetable, grapeseed, safflower, etc)
- In a very large bowl, combine the dried buttermilk powder, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, dried minced onion, sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Do not add the fresh herbs if using or the mixture will potentially clump from moisture.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside. Using a mandoline with the French fry attachment, slice the potatoes into fries. Place the potatoes into the ice water. Cover and chill for at least 50 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom saucepan. Using a thermometer, bring the oil to 325 degrees F. Make sure there's at least 3 inches between the oil and the top of the pan to avoid splatter.
- Drain the potatoes and dry very thoroughly. Line a sheet pan with paper towels.
- Add 1/2 of the fries to the hot oil and cook for 6 minutes. Adjust the flame as needed to maintain the temperature.
- Carefully remove the fries and transfer to the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining fries.
- Increase the oil temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Add 1/2 of the fries to the oil and cook until golden brown. Remove and allow to drain on fresh paper towels while you cook the remaining potatoes.
- Toss the fries with the reserved spice mixture, tossing in the fresh herbs last.
- Serve hot.
To save time, this recipe can be simplified by using frozen, pre-cut French fries. Simply fry them according to package instructions and then toss with the spices and herbs.