Saute potatoes without boiling

A lot of pan fried potatoes (or crispy breakfast taters) take wayyy longer than they should. You’re first asked to boil the potatoes then chop and fry them. We can hardly think of anything more annoying. Especially if you’re feeling lazy, hungover, or rushed—or all of the above. The truth is, you don’t need to pre-cook the potatoes at all. You just need to slice ’em thin and choose the best oils…plural! Below are our top tips for pan-fried potato perfection.

THE BEST COOKING OIL

As much as we love butter, it burns too quickly over high heat, which is necessary for optimal crispiness. Olive oil is only a little bit better. The solution: mixing EVOO with vegetable oil (or another neutral oil with a high smoking point).

THE BEST KIND OF POTATO

Baby Yukon gold if you can! Or another creamy variety. While russets would work, they’re super starchy, which can lead to soggy-ish results. (It’s why so many French fry recipes ask you to soak the potatoes in water first.)

THE CORRECT WAY TO ADD HERBS AND SPICES

You can use whatever spices you’d like—chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, taco seasoning, even coriander—in a ton of different combinations, but don’t add them too soon! Dried spices can burn very easily. We like to add them during the last couple minutes of cooking.

The case is different for herbs. If you’re using heartier stemmed herbs, like rosemary or thyme, it’s fine to add them at the beginning of the cooking process. Things like chives, parsley, or basil, should be used at the last minute, lest you want them wilted and sad.

Do you guys have recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation? I do! I have a bunch of German and Bulgarian recipes that have come from my Omi and Papa. Omi is from Germany and is filled to the brim with great recipes from her mom and from her mom’s mom. I guess that would be my great great grandma? Maybe? You do the math and let me know. Papa has tons of great Bulgarian recipes that are literally out of this world. I love everything that comes out of their kitchen and each time I go back to visit, I come home with index cards full of new recipes that I can’t wait to try out in my own kitchen.

I think it’s so important to keep these recipes going. Some of them are so simple, like Omi’s sautéed potatoes with onions. I mean there really isnít anything to it, but it’s the way she does them and how she makes sure that the potatoes get extra crispy on the bottom so they have a golden brown crust. Oh, I just love them. My sister and I will fight over who gets the last serving; they are always just so good!

When Kikkoman approached me to participate and learn about their product I jumped at the chance. I love learning about companies that go way back and have such strong people working for them. I watched a quick documentary directed by Lucy Walker, an Academy Award Nominated Filmmaker entitled Make Haste Slowly. It is a documentary on Kikkoman and everything that goes into making this sauce that we all love and what struck me the most was how much everyone that works at the company loves it. You could see in their employees eyes what Kikkoman has done for them. It’s like they have made their entire lives better.

It’s these kinds of reactions and responses that make me want to support a company even more. The last frame of the documentary was one for the books too! You should watch it so you know what I’m talking about, but it literally brought a tear to my eye. It’s always so amazing to see someone who believes so much in his or her employer. Especially these days, when so many people aren’t passionate about their jobs and just plug away because it’s what they have to do.

A little background on Kikkoman, because as something we all use all the time, on countless different recipes, I think it’s important that we know the background of the company! Kikkoman is a family run company that’s been in business for over 300 years!! And the best part about it, besides the fact that they make awesome soy sauce, is that women started it. Something that was not common when they started 300 years ago.

So in honor of Kikkoman and their family creed, I wanted to share Omi’s potato recipe. It’s nothing complicated, but it’s a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, similar to the Kikkoman recipe, and takes just a bit of love and time to get the perfect results.

Omi’s Sautéed Potatoes

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Description:

By: Gaby Dalkin Rating: Servings: 0 Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time: Course: Cuisine:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds small yellow-skinned potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Directions

Instructions

  • Place potatoes, unpeeled, in a saucepan with water to cover and salt.
  • Cook potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel them. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds.
  • Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold potatoes in one layer. When oil is hot, add potatoes. Cook over high heat, shaking skillet and stirring gently, until lightly browned. Turn potatoes with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes more until light brown.
  • Drain excess fat from skillet and add onion. Cook a few minutes until onion is lightly browned. Add butter, garlic, salt and pepper and blend well.

Omi’s Sautéed Potatoes: Chef Vision

Ingredients 1 1/2 pounds small yellow-skinned potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions

Instructions Step 1 of 4: Place potatoes, unpeeled, in a saucepan with water to cover and salt.

Instructions Step 2 of 4: Cook potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel them. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds.

Instructions Step 3 of 4: Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold potatoes in one layer. When oil is hot, add potatoes. Cook over high heat, shaking skillet and stirring gently, until lightly browned. Turn potatoes with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes more until light brown.

Instructions Step 4 of 4: Drain excess fat from skillet and add onion. Cook a few minutes until onion is lightly browned. Add butter, garlic, salt and pepper and blend well.

Previous

How to Make Fried Potatoes

Call them fried potatoes, home fries, home-fried potatoes, or cottage fries, they all mean the same thing — thinly sliced potatoes or wedges that are usually cooked in butter or oil. You can start with raw or cooked potatoes and cook them on the stove top or in the oven. To personalize your spuds, see the add-ins and seasoning ideas below. Before getting started, wash the potatoes with cool, clear tap water, scrubbing them with a clean produce brush.

How to Pan-Fry Potatoes

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Any kind of potato will work using this method. If you use potatoes with a thicker skin, such as russets, you may want to peel them first. Three medium potatoes, sliced, equals four servings that fit nicely into a large skillet.

  • For sliced potatoes: Thinly slice potatoes about 1/8 inch thick. (Quick tip: If you have one, use a mandoline or vegetable slicer to slice the potatoes.) In a large skillet melt butter or margarine (use about 1 tablespoon for each medium potato) over medium heat. Add potato slices and cook, covered, for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Uncover; cook for 12 to 15 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and light brown, turning occasionally. If necessary, you may need to add additional butter during cooking.
  • For New Potato Wedges: For four servings, plan on 1 pound tiny new potatoes. Cut the new potatoes into wedges. In a large skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine over medium heat. Add potato wedges and cook, covered, for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Uncover; cook for 8 to 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and light brown, turning occasionally. If necessary, you may need to add additional butter during cooking.
  • Tip: You can cook the potatoes ahead. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a covered baking dish. Place in a 200 degrees F oven and hold for up to 1 hour.

How to Oven-Fry Potatoes

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  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Prepare potatoes as above in the pan-fry method, except arrange potatoes in a thin layer (single layer for wedges) in a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Melt margarine or butter; drizzle over potatoes. Bake about 25 minutes or until browned.

How to Pan-Fry Potatoes Using Cooked Potatoes

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Some cooks prefer to boil their potatoes before frying them. This is also a great way to use leftover potatoes. For this method, choose a medium- or low-starch potato that will hold its shape during boiling:

  • Medium-starch potatoes: Yukon gold, Finnish yellow
  • Low-starch potatoes: round red, round white, new potatoes
  • To boil potatoes: Cut potatoes into quarters. In a large saucepan bring salted water (just enough to cover the potatoes) to boiling. Add potatoes and cook, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or just until tender when poked with a fork. Drain.
  • To microwave potatoes: Cut potatoes into quarters. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 5 minutes. Stir; cover again with the vented plastic wrap and cook 5 minutes more or until tender. Drain.
  • Tip: You can boil or microwave the potatoes ahead of time and refrigerate them, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • To fry the boiled potatoes: Peel potatoes if desired. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices or cut into 3/4-inch chunks. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt about 2 teaspoons butter or margarine per medium potato. Add cooked potatoes; cook about 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally.

Quick Add-In Ideas

Flavor your potatoes with any of these add-ins. You can stir in the fresh veggies when you start cooking the potatoes or midway, depending on your preference. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, herbs (except rosemary; add it midway), and cheese at the end of cooking and just heat through.

  • Chopped sweet peppers
  • Sliced sweet onion, such as Vidalia, or green onions
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (oil pack, drained)
  • Crumbled cooked bacon
  • Fresh chopped herbs such as chives, dill, rosemary, thyme, or sage
  • Shredded cheese

Seasonings

Experiment with these seasonings. Add them to the melted butter before adding the potatoes. You can add more later to taste.

  • Regular salt, onion salt, or garlic salt
  • Sweet or smoked paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Dijon-style mustard

Potato Serve-With Suggestions

  • Eggs and egg dishes for breakfast or brunch
  • Chicken, pork chops, steak, or ground-meat patties
  • Broiled or baked fish meals
  • Italian or chicken sausage, brats, and dogs

Fried Potato Recipes to Try:

Cottage Fried Potatoes

Potato Crisps

Pan-Fried Garlic Steak & Potatoes

Skillet Sausage & Potatoes

More Potato Ideas

Also see French Fries and Hash Brown Potatoes.

I was somewhat puzzled when sauteed potatoes appeared on the list of suggestions for this column. For a start, the highest form of fried potato is clearly the chip. And moreover, I had severe doubts as to whether anyone would bother to cook such sad little cubes of greasy potato at home. Beloved of the budget buffet, they’re only one step up from a frozen potato croquette – and, in my book at least, a less attractive proposition. Sauteed potatoes may take their name from the French “to jump” (thanks to the action of tossing them in the pan), but I certainly wasn’t leaping into action on this one.

But, in deference to my esteemed editor, I grudgingly did a bit of research, and lo, I realised there are two sorts of sauteed potato, just like, I suppose, there are good croquettes and bad croquettes. There’s the rubbish kind, soft and beige and oily, and there are the golden boys, crunchy and hot and generously seasoned, half way between crisps and chips, and nearly as delicious.

Larousse Gastronomique includes two recipes, Gordon Ramsay has described them (erroneously in my opinion) as “beating chips any day” and even our very own Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett has her own take – so sauteed potatoes must be worth our consideration after all. But how do you make them nice?

Variety and performance

Raymond Blanc recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Most recipes for sauteed potatoes call specifically for a waxy variety: Ramsay suggests Charlotte and Anthony Bourdain Yukon Gold (more common in the States than here). Good Food magazine recommend that solid all-rounder Desiree or the more floury Maris Piper, and Raymond Blanc bucks the trend entirely by using King Edwards, described by the Potato Council (how I’d love to sit on that) as having a “fluffy texture”. Because Blanc fries the potatoes from raw, rather than pre-cooking them (of which more later), they don’t fall apart in the pan as I’d feared, but the texture is definitely more Boxing Day leftovers than smart French restaurant. The solidity, and buttery flavour of the Charlottes works far better here.

Cutting it

Julia Child recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Julia Child directs me to cook my pommes de terres sautees whole – although I am required to carve them into “elongated olive shapes, 2 to 2½ inches long” first. Ramsay simply cuts them in half, while almost everyone else suggests slices from 5mm (Michel Roux Jr’s A Life in the Kitchen) to 1cm (Marcus Wareing’s How to Cook the Perfect … ). Blanc goes for 2cm cubes, and Good Food sticks with the comfortingly non-specific “chunks”.

The greater the surface area, I realise, the greater the opportunity for crisping – so Roux’s thin slices prove ideal, allowing just enough room for a contrast in texture between the inside and outside of the potato. The squares remind me unpleasantly of my old enemies from the buffet and are disqualified on aesthetic grounds, and Child’s whole potatoes, though elegant on the plate, are basically just steamed with a disappointingly thin veneer of golden crust.

Peel or no peel?

Michel Roux Jr recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

The waxy potatoes available here are often picked while they’re small enough for salads, with skins as thin and delicate as a cobweb – peeling is definitely optional as far as I’m concerned. Child recommends it, as does Bourdain, while Roux boils them in their skins, presumably for reasons of flavour, and then peels them before frying. Wareing, Ramsay, Good Food and Blanc all leave them on – and I think they’re right. It’s not just a question of laziness (although that does come into it): the ragged skins crisp up beautifully, giving the sauteed spuds a more interesting texture.

A raw deal

Anthony Bourdain recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Sauteed potato chefs split into two camps: those who cook them before frying, and those bold souls, like Bourdain, Blanc and Child who seize the bull by the horns and fry them from raw. Although in the long run this is probably quicker, it is considerably more effort: raw potatoes burn easily on the kind of heat required to brown and crisp them, yet they seem to take an age to cook through. In fact, the whole operation is actually quite stressful, and after all that, the results seem greasier and less crunchy than the par-boiled kind, presumably because even a waxy potato has a little fluff when cooked, helping the cut sides to crisp up nicely in the hot oil.

Parboiling them, as Ramsay suggests, runs the risk of uncooked potato beneath that perfectly golden exterior – they should be almost tender, although it’s better to err on the firm side for ease of slicing.

Good Food magazine recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Cutting the potatoes before boiling, as BBC Good Food suggests, is a false economy: they cook more quickly, but the smaller pieces are more readily waterlogged, and starting with a dry potato is vital for really crisp results later, as Ramsay makes clear. Put them back in the hot pan to steam for a moment, just to make sure, then allow to cool slightly before frying, not only to save your fingers but also to maximise the drying time.

Fat

Marcus Wareing recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Olive oil is the most common choice of frying medium; unlike butter, it won’t burn at these temperatures, and if you miss that rich flavour (this is a French classic, after all), you can always add a knob of butter at the end, as Wareing, Blanc and Ramsay suggest.

Anthony Boudain sautees his potatoes in bacon fat, rendered from lardons cooked alongside the spuds. Bacon dripping is always welcome, but here I think it’s just a bit … well, bacony – and it gives the potatoes a slightly unappetising dirty brown colour. I prefer Roux’s duck fat, which he suggests as an “even more delicious” alternative to oil: it makes the slices extra crisp, but with a subtler richness of flavour. Vegetarians should replace it with oil and butter combination mentioned above.

Extras

Gordon Ramsay recipe sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

The sauteed potato can be customised any which way you like (Bourdain’s bacon, Elizabeth David’s onion, Smitten Kitchen’s smoked paprika), but the traditional basic recipe almost always features garlic and chopped parsley. Roux adds both right at the end, but I find raw garlic too harsh, and the same goes for Blanc’s shallot. Conversely, sticking a crushed clove into the cooking water, as Wareing’s recipe suggests, is too subtle – I certainly can’t taste it in the finished dish. Cooking a chopped clove along with the potatoes, as Ramsay suggests, runs the risk of burning it: best, I think to, add at the last minute, just to take the edge off that raw flavour.

Chopped parsley is the classic choice of herb, but Child suggests using a mixture of tarragon, parsley and chives which is even better if you have them handy – combined with the garlic, they’re France on a plate. Perfect with a steak, a piece of fish, or, indeed, a nice fried egg.

Perfect sauteed potatoes

Felicity’s perfect sauteed potatoes. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Serves 2

500g small waxy potatoes (Charlotte are ideal)
1 tbsp duck fat or olive oil (if using olive oil, add a knob of butter towards the end of cooking)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley, tarragon and chives (or any combination of those three)

1. Put the potato in a pan of well-salted cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes (depending on size) until just tender. Drain well, and return to the hot pan to steam for a couple of minutes.
2. When cool enough to handle, cut into 5mm slices. Heat the duck fat or oil in a pan over a medium high heat and then add the potato in a single layer, cooking them in batches if necessary. Season and leave to cook undisturbed until golden brown. Flip over and repeat.
3. Add the garlic to the pan and saute briefly (add the butter at this point if using), then drain on kitchen paper, scatter with herbs and serve immediately.

Sauteed potatoes: better than chips, as Ramsay claims, or only a cabbage short of bubble and squeak? Americans, what’s the difference between these and home fries – and everyone, what do you serve them with?

Sauteed Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

Try this for dinner

Here’s a quick and easy way to cook potatoes to accompany roast beef, lamb leg or any other meat; whatever you feel like! Throw some potatoes, butter, and herbs in your favorite frying pan and it’s ready for a real feast. You must choose small and young potatoes because they cook evenly and have this little sweet taste that goes so well with butter and herbs.

Ingredients list for sauteed potatoes

For 4 persons:

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) of small new potatoes
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50 g) butter
  • Salt and pepper

Cooking instructions

1. Wash the potatoes. No need to peel them because you will lose the flavor. Put them in a saucepan filled with cold water. Salt. Bring to a boil. Drain potatoes when they are cooked.

2. Slightly crush the potatoes, just a little for fun so that the aromas of herbs penetrate well.

3. In a skillet, melt the butter, add the potatoes and brown them stirring gently so as not to break them and finish with a puree. Add chives, chopped rosemary and thyme leaves. Salt and pepper. It’s ready!

Tips
You can put the herbs you want with your sauteed potatoes, why not even a little mashed garlic or shallots, it is according to your taste but also depending of what you have at the moment… But be careful not to cover the smell of potatoes, it would be a shame!

Bon appétit!