I usually cook enough to make leftovers, whether for lunches the next day, or to repurpose the leftovers into other dishes. Or because I misjudge how much we are going to eat, which happens more often that I would like. When I have leftover potatoes, for whatever reason, I like to make today’s recipe. Calvin calls them Slip and Slides, because they taste like they have enough butter to slide right down. They are deceptively rich, as you really only need a tablespoon of butter to make them good. You can use two tablespoons, if you have enough potatoes, but too much and they are unpleasantly greasy. Sometimes, hard as it is to believe, there is such a thing as too much butter.
Start with cooked potatoes. This is the best way to get crispy, browned potatoes without using a lot of fat, or taking all evening to cook them all the way through. If you don’t have leftover potatoes, you can microwave whole potatoes for five minutes or so to get them started. You don’t have to cook them until they are all the way done, but they should be close. Peel and dice them into small pieces and they are ready for the pan.
Then cook them in melted butter until they are crispy and browned. I like to use a cast iron skillet for this. I think it makes them crispier without burning them, but any heavy-bottomed skillet will do. It will take longer than you think, but it will go faster if you resist the urge to stir them too much. Let them go for at least five minutes, and more if you can stand it, before you stir them the first time. You are going for golden brown surfaces on all sides of your cubes, but you aren’t going for perfection here.
Slip and Slide Potatoes
from The Cook’s Life
1-2 tablespoons butter
3-4 medium baked potatoes (I use leftover potatoes for this)*
Start a skillet heating over medium heat and add the butter. While the pan is heating, peel and dice the potatoes, cutting them into about ½-inch cubes. You don’t have to be precise. Swirl the pan to cover the bottom with the melted butter and add the potatoes. Spread them out so they are in a single layer and then walk away. Leave them absolutely alone for five minutes before you start to stir. You are working toward a golden brown coating on the bottoms of the pieces. After at least five minutes, use a spatula to turn the potatoes. Try to turn them all the way over so the tops of the pieces will brown. After another five minutes, stir them around, gently and let them brown some more. If they are starting to get too brown, lower the heat. Remember, you aren’t going for constant stirring. Let the heat do the work.
Serve your golden brown, crispy potatoes hot, with salt and pepper to taste.
*If you don’t have leftover potatoes, scrub the potatoes, prick them with a fork and microwave on high for five minutes, or until they are starting to get soft. They don’t have to be all the way cooked, but it is fine if they are. Let them cool a bit for easy handling.