The potato

’Tis the season for potatoes of all colours, textures and flavours. Try this lively recipe for fried potatoes with hot sauce.  photo: 
Peter Simpson

– humble but unbeatable

By Tim O’Connor

The humble potato is, well, humble, which may be why we forget how great the little guy is. The spud is so simple and yet so versatile.

Whether you grew up well off or poor, the potato was the common food because everybody could afford a potato. My nostalgia potato is a simple roasted tater with herbs around a roast of beef on a Sunday. Your top tater may be done a different way, but I don’t think anybody’s ever said “I hate mashed potatoes” or “French fries are garbage.” Mention a scalloped potato, and your mouth immediately salivates.

There’s no better time of year than this for flavourful potatoes. Go to a farmers’ market and get a small bag of farm-fresh spuds. Cook them any way you like – maybe do the recipe I’m sharing here, or maybe just mash them up. It’s hard to resist dipping your finger into a pot of mashed potatoes for a taste, then smiling because you got away with something cheeky.

There are many types of potatoes with different flavours and textures and starchiness, and everyone has an opinion on which is best for which dish. For today’s recipe, I use a good, old-fashioned Yukon Gold, which has the right softness and that pleasing golden flesh. This recipe is basically a fried potato with hot sauce served with ranch dressing. It’s so simple and pleasing. You’re sitting there watching a football game and eating thick-cut potatoes that are soft in the centre and crispy on the outside, with this vinegary hot sauce that reminds you of salt-and-vinegar chips. The ranch dressing on the side is great for dipping any potato.

Tim’s Top Taters is a satisfying snack for adults or kids, and it’s simpler to make than French fries. That’s the potato – humble, simple and unbeatable.

Tim O’Connor was born and raised in the Glebe and is head chef at Flora Hall Brewing.

Tim’s Top Taters

Put potatoes in a pot of water. Bring to a boil for five minutes then turn off heat and let potatoes cool for five minutes in the water. Drain.
Cut to the size you like, toss in cornstarch.
Fry in pan with a 1/2 inch of oil, add more oil if frying a lot of potatoes. Toss fried potatoes in the hot sauce and serve with ranch on the side.

Ranch Sauce
1 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup homogenized milk
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 lemons zested and juiced
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season.

Hot sauce
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
4 guajillo chillies
2 dried long chillies
Purée in blender until chillies are broken down.

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