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Saturday, June 24, 2006

how to make perfect skillet potatoes

After many years of having potatoes that were done on the outside but still raw on the inside, or not browned to my liking, I feel I have finally achieved potato perfection. I have two guiding principles for tasty taters from the skillet: par-cooking and patience.
After chopping up a couple Yukon gold potatoes, maybe one per person or more (depending on size and hunger), put in microwave-safe container. Of course it is best to keep the size of the potato pieces as universal as possible for uniform cooking.Drizzle with olive oil or another fat of your choice as well as salt and pepper. You could season later if you prefer (once the potatoes are in the skillet) and just do the oil/butter at this point if it suits your fancy.
Cover the container tightly, with either the lid or plastic wrap. This is really important in order to help cook the potatoes and give them a head-start in the microwave. Nuke potatoes for 3 minutes. Take them out and shake them around (conainer will be very hot) and then put them in again for another three minutes.

After the second round of microwaving, dump the taters in to a skillet over medium heat. Use a spatula to press down the potatoes, making them nice and intimate with one another. You should have a flatish layer of potatoes so they brown evenly and make a "crust" on the bottom.
After you have pressed the potatoes down, walk away. Let them cook and don't move them. I said DON'T MOVE THEM. You may want to shift them around the pan as for other saute-ing but it is really important not to. Resist the urge. Depending on the heat of your burner, you may want to shift the heat down a little to low-medium. Once you have left the potatoes alone to cook for at least 10 or 15 minutes, gently pick up one potato to see if it has achieved golden crustiness on the bottom. If not, keep leaving the potatoes alone.

Once the bottoms are golden, turn over the potatoes so the other side can brown. This will only take five minutes or so. Use a fork to test the tenderness of the potatoes and if they are not yet fork-tender (or however done you like them), turn down the heat for them to cook more without browning.

Enjoy any way you please. Of course fresh rosemary and/or garlic would be great in the skillet with these as well, toward the end of cooking. I recommend eating with campari tomatoes while editing a project and having a coffee.


  • Thanks Abby! Nice photos! I'm definitely trying this - I always have problems getting them just right. These look like they turned out perfectly!

    By Blogger Ashley, at 6:27 PM  

  • And don't you just love the color of those Yukon Golds? They look like they'll taste like sunshine.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 9:01 AM  

  • You mean microwave with the container closed tightly? Isn't it dangerous?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 PM  

  • I have never been able to make skillet potatoes, but I followed your directions (except I microwaved them for longer.. 6 mins, and then another 2). They turened out great :)

    Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 PM  

  • Can you use other diff. kinds of potateoes or is yukon best??

    By Blogger (E)-Motion Sickness, at 11:37 AM  

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