Monday, 16 July 2012

If the ‘regular’ german is not into noodles then he most definitely is seriously addicted to bratkartoffeln = fried potatoes. I am the latter. I might probably want to eat them every day – would the oil not stink so much.

As easy as this seems to be, a bloody beginner such as I am can still mess this up.
But alas! In the two weeks I spent at my grandmother’s I learned to cook them properly. I had to. She would have kicked me out if I were to cook something fancy with lots of vegetables.
Not that my grandmother helped but for yelling

MORE OIL! MORE OIL!
Grandma! They are bloody soaked in oil!
WELL, THAT’S GOOD THEN!
Great.

There are techniques only known to pros or handed down from mother to daughter in sticky handwritten recipe books I happen to NOT own. These make the potato what it should be. But I found out, eventually, with lots of trials, errors, forums of addicted potato gobblers.

So – Here is what you should know if you care to elevate the simple paysan meal to something… well… divine?

1. Waxy potatoes
Pick the right kind of potato. Not every potato is best when fried. In germany you might want to pick ‘Nicola’, the main thing is that they are waxy.
Skin them, slice them, boil them.

2. Carbon steel pan
Forget teflon pans or anything coated. The potatoes will only taste wild if made like they used to do it…hundreds of years ago when fire was invented. Seriously. Trust me.

3. Oil
The potatoes are best when fried in lard. The ‘modern’ alternative would be – Lots of oil! Don’t be afraid. Don’t skimp on it. You can use it twice. Yuk! I know…
Heat the oil and fry the potatoes.

4. Fry
Don’t turn too often or else they will break apart. For me, this was the most difficult step.
They should be golden. Not too dark, not too light.
If your pan is too small, make them in multiple batches. If you stuff everything in a small pan you will get a lot of burned ones and a lot of not well done.

5. Seasoning
Garlic, seasoning (maybe rosemary or thyme), salt, pepper and maybe a little bit of last christmas’ duck fat!
Yes, duck fat. Not butter.

I hope you will enjoy your bratkartoffel as much as I do!

And do let me know if you came across any other secret technique like some potato enchantment dance.

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