The story goes like this: A few years ago, I was in a program for cooks/chefs and food writers at Audrey Claire’s COOK. One of the chefs who was teaching us was a classically trained French chef (he’s American, but was trained in France and cooks French food at his restaurants). He made this bold claim: No restaurant is making French fries in house, or if they are, their fries are probably not good fries. They’re not doing it, he said, because for French fries to be halfway decent, they have to soak for at least 36 hours, and very few restaurants have room in their walk-ins for the giant vats of soaking sliced potatoes they’d need to fill fry demand. He said he didn’t know why it was such an important step, just that soaking was the only way to do it and achieve worthy results.
I’m generally not down with the word “only” but I was intrigued by his strong feelings on the matter and excited that the process he described was, basically a short ferment. I went home and immediately started playing around with this. The deep-fried Sweet Potato Fry Nests in Ferment Your Vegetables are a result of this revelation. Those party-worthy sweeties are a little sexier, a little more work, and a lot more indulgent than these which are super simple and can easily be added to a weeknight meal.
The best part about these potatoes is the texture. You know the texture of a really great, thick potato chip? Like when they have visible bubbles under the skin and the exact right bite? Think of that transformed into roasted potatoes, with crisp exteriors and smooth, puffy insides. Plus, these potatoes have the added, fermenty advantage of tang and, presumably, somewhat lowered sugar content.
This is my 2nd favorite way to eat potatoes (because mashed potatoes will win any potato contest ever and your arguments are invalid) and I’m excited to share the simple process with you.
Note: In case you missed it, these will not be probiotic after cooking. That loss is a low price to pay for this flavor and texture, IMO.
Crackly Fermented and Roasted Potatoes Recipe
I make these salty because that’s how I like them. If you need to limit salt, you can, just know that you might not get quite the same crisp (and that they won’t taste as good!). I have only tried this recipe with potatoes that I know (or have been told by a generous and knowledgable farmer) are good for roasting, but I done it with several of those varieties and the results have been consistent. If you need help picking a good roasting tater, this post might be helpful.