Walt and I have been binging on oven-fried potatoes this year. The potatoes we planted on new ground did only moderately well, but the single potato that planted itself in the hot bed we set up for our corn and squash plants produced 10 pounds of potatoes! It produced so well that it made me go a bit hysterical, and now we are planning to plant all our potatoes that way next year.
So, this fall I have dug four trenches, and have already filled one with food waste, seeded it with worms, and buried and mulched it. The worms should be able to work that food down pretty well before the trenches freeze solid. Next spring I will open the trenches up again, add more food waste and worms, and then plant a row of seed potatoes on top before burying the whole thing with soil. After that, the potatoes will be on their own.
Here is my recipe for oven fried potatoes. Be forewarned, they are addictive: Walt and I can each put away the oven-fried equivalent of 3 large potatoes at one sitting!
Peel fresh potatoes. Cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a jelly roll pan (this is like a cookie sheet with sides). Sprinkle the oil with a really generous amount of dried garlic, freshly ground pepper, and salt (or seasoned salt). Make a wild guess about the amount of potato slices that can be spread out in a single layer on your pan — put that amount of potato slices on the pan. Scrub the potato slices around in the oil and spices until they are well coated on both sides, then carefully lay the slices out on the pan, one slice thick. You have wildly overestimated how many potato slices will comfortably fit in the pan. Get out another jelly roll pan, and repeat the operation. Once you have all your potato slices oiled, spiced, and distributed on your three jelly roll pans and a heavy-duty metal pie tin, put them in the oven and turn the heat to 350 degrees. Turn on the fan. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, check the potatoes. If they are golden and crisp, (they won’t be yet) remove them from the oven. If they aren’t yet golden and crisp, set the alarm for another 10 minutes. When the alarm goes off, check to see whether they are crisp and golden. Repeat until the slices are crisp and golden. The potatoes on the bottom shelf and the ones on the blackened pan will be done first.
Variation: Add some sliced Jerusalem Artichokes to the mix. These add a wonderful, toasted-marshmallow texture and a nutty flavor.