Saturday, January 31, 2015

Oven Baked Seasoned Potato Wedges


When I make my Easy Crispy Chicken Fingers as a meal, I always like to serve something to go along with them. And what goes better with chicken fingers than fries? Well, this can be a bit of a problem, if you attempt to make a batch of traditional "fried" fries, because you have to do one of two things... you'll have to either use two large skillets that are half filled with hot oil on your stove top at one time, or if you have one of the stand alone deep fryers, you have to cook one thing first and keep it warm in the oven, while you cook the other.

My solution? I bake my fries in the oven! And trust me, you won't miss out on the contrasting textures of a crisp, yet tender potato, (which let's face it, are the best part about fried potatoes) by doing it my way. They still come out crispy, brown and delicious on the outside and have the same tender creamy, potato-y goodness on the inside. (If potato-y is even a word? lol)

I promise you... once you've made a big batch of my seasoned oven baked fries this way, I think you'll want to continue to make them this way, again and again.

Seasoned Oven Baked Potato Wedges
(serves 4)
  • 4 Large Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Tbls Vegetable of Light Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbls All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder or 1/2 Tsp Garlic Salt w/Parsley
  • 2 Tsp Kosher Salt, divided
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper


1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash your potatoes well under cold water and pat them dry with some clean paper towels.


2. Using a sharp knife, slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then slice each half into wedges. Depending on the size of the potatoes, you can usually get roughly 6 wedges out of each half. You certainly don't have to measure them, but you do want to keep them as close to the same size as you can, just to make sure that they cook at an even rate.


3. Place your potato wedges in a large pan or bowl and drizzle them with the oil. Toss them well with your hands, so that all of the wedges are coated with it. If there's any oil that has puddled or accumulated in the bottom of the dish, pour most of that off. You want the potatoes coated well, but not swimming in the oil.


4. Season the potatoes with your salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and toss them well again to make sure the seasonings are well distributed. (If using the Garlic Salt with Parsley, use only 1/2 Tsp)


*Tip: Fresh ground black pepper is so much more flavorful than the pre-ground options that have been around all these years. Even small diners and mom & pop sandwich shops, are putting pepper grinders (often similar to the one above) on the tables these days. Many pre-ground peppers state clearly on the label that they contain fillers, but they don't ever list exactly what those fillers are. Foodie "insiders" have speculated for years, that one of the more popular fillers that manufacturers use is... sawdust. Now, I don't know how much validity there is to that, but if you do a side by side taste test, the pre-ground stuff has no flavor at all, when compared to the fresh, so...?


*Tip cont'd: You can use any combination of seasonings that you like. I just kept mine simple, because I didn't want the potatoes to compete with (or overshadow) the rest of the food. I wouldn't recommend using fresh herbs prior to cooking, though because they can burn and become bitter. But, if you want to add a little bright, fresh flourish to them, you can chop up and sprinkle on a bit of fresh parsley, chives, etc., shortly after the potatoes come out of the oven.


5. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and toss them again, making sure that each wedge has a thin coating of the oil, flour and seasonings on it.



6. I let the potatoes sit for 2 to 3 minutes and then give them another good toss. I do this maybe 2 more times, just to make sure that the oil, flour and seasonings thicken up a bit as it all sits together. It doesn't add much time to the overall process, but it ensures a more even coating on your potatoes.


7. Spread the potato wedges out, skin side down, onto a foil lined baking sheet. Try not to overlap any of them and if you have more pieces than will easily fit on a single sheet, just divide them up equally between 2 sheets.


8. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes (this will depend on how many you're making and how hot your oven runs), taking them out and turning them once or twice during the cooking process. I find that it's best to use a thin spatula to do this so that you can get under any of the skin that might be starting to stick to the foil. You can also spray your foil with a little cooking oil spray, if you want a little added insurance against possible sticking.


9. Continue to bake, until the wedges are nicely browned and fork tender. Again, check them now & then because oven temps vary. I made these while we were at our daughter's house and her oven took about 5 minutes longer for them to reach the desired color and doneness, than it takes in my own oven here at home.


10. As soon as the potatoes come out of the oven, make sure to hit them with a bit more salt and/or any of the other seasonings you like. For a little kick you can add a little cayenne pepper, or to give them another layer of flavor and texture, a quick grating of a nice sharp Cheddar or a little Parmesan cheese. This will take these potatoes to a whole 'nother level! Be bold! Experiment! But, most of all....

Enjoy!

Mary


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