Saturday, February 27, 2010

Italian Fried Potatoes

Back when I was a kid, when we went out to dinner, we usually ended up at The Pasta House. Remember that old one that used to be at the end of the strip mall in front of the Target in Ballwin? This was back before they brightened the place up to appeal to the chain restaurant crowd. The restaurant was small, kind of dingy, and if I recall correctly, had a brick floor, so your table and chairs were always wobbly. We loved that place. What I remember about the food was that my dad always ordered the tortellini (we called it "tartellini" in the same way others called highway 44, "highway farty far") and my mom and I always got an order of Italian Fried Potatoes. These weren't just any old french fries. They were garlicky and had onions and some kind of strange olives (didn't taste like the canned olives we ate at Christmas) and were best when they were cooked until they were super crispy. I had tried a few times when I was younger to recreate those potatoes with no success. When I was 20, I befriended someone with some insider information about the restaurant. He told me the secret to the Italian Fried Potatoes. A small, but important detail. 17 years later, I share that secret with you.

Italian Fried Potatoes (my version - this isn't the Pasta House recipe)
4 russet potatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of kalamata olives
olive oil

Scrub and dry 4 russet potatoes.

Now here comes the big secret: they use baked potatoes to make the IFP's. (In hindsight, I kind of feel dumb for not having figured that out.) So stab the taters with a fork to prepare for microwaving.

And microwave until cooked. These guys took about 9 minutes. I rolled them over several times during the process.

In the meantime, prepare the onions, garlic and olives.

I slice the onion, chop the garlic, and halve the olives. (The picture shows more garlic than we used for the potatoes. Something else I was cooking required garlic, so I chopped it all at once.)

Once the potatoes are cooked, let the cool off for a bit.

After they have cooled, slice into wedges. The thinner you slice, the crispier the final product. Be careful though, they will fall apart if you slice em too thin.

In a small pan, saute onions and garlic on medium low heat with some olive oil, a little bit of butter and some salt and pepper.

Cook until tender and sweet, then remove from heat.

In a large non-stick pan, over medium high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Cook potatoes in batches. Make sure the potatoes aren't crowded in the pan.

Cook them, turning carefully, until golden brown and crispy. Keep the first batch in 350 degree oven until second batch is done.

After the second batch is brown, add olives to the pan and cook for a minute.

Add potatoes from the oven, and onion and garlic mixture. Toss in pan until everything is heated.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.

Ok, not healthy or good for you in anyway, but these potatoes are so delicious. And the leftovers are good cold right out of the fridge.


  1. Hi Michelle ~ I'm the self-appointed 'social director' of the STL food blogs, we're planning an event for next week, I'd love to send you an invitation. Just e-mail me at ak atat kitchen hyphen parade dotdot com. Thanks! (Do mail me, please, I'll add your name to the mailing list, for occasional mailings about new food bloggers, events, etc.)

  2. I add Parmesean at the end. Thanks for this secret! Love Pasta House!