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Bread Crumb Fried Potatoes



I started dating my first husband our last year in high school.  I used to love going up to his house for supper on a Friday or a Saturday night.  His mother Lois was an excellent cook. She was a farm wife, and a hard worker, and she was an expert in the use of simple ingredients and knew how to both make them stretch and taste good!


They had a farm hand that she used to feed and of course her boys and husband who had hearty farmhouse appetites.  I can remember the first time I had her fried potatoes.  They were gorgeous.  She cooked them in an electric skillet and used rendered salt pork to fry them.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven!


I learned a lot about cooking from her and the art of thrift.  My mother also taught me well in these areas.I always think that I was truly blessed to have had the tutelage of these two very fine cooks early in my life.


My mother used to fry her potatoes differently than Lois did. Mom always cut leftover potatoes into thin slices, and then fried them in butter.  They were also seriously tasty.  We could never get enough of them and would have quite happily had my mother standing at the stove all night frying them if she would have done so!


Farmhouse ingenuity meant adding a slice of stale bread, crumbled into crumbs, to the potatoes when they were frying.  This made the potatoes go a tiny bit further and added interest . . .  you got gilded golden brown potatoes, fried onion and crispy bread crumbs.  Adding the herbs has always been my own idea, and adds another depth of flavour to the dish. 


I like to use "new" or salad potatoes, which are naturally low GI, and I use whole wheat bread for it's nuttiness and lower GI qualities.  Altogether this combination is a bit healthier for me as a Diabetic than using old potatoes and white bread.  Not that you could ever count this dish as  "healthy" option, but it is  rare and delicious treat that I hope you will be keen to try. 


*Bread Crumb Fried Potatoes*
Serves 4

An ancient recipe that canny cooks used to make simple potatoes go a bit further.  Traditionally salt pork, or bacon grease would have been used to give the potatoes extra flavour.  Now I tend to use a mix of butter and olive oil, but if you want to really be traditional, use the pork or bacon grease.  About 4 TBS rendered salt pork fat or bacon grease will do it.  Just be sure to remember that both are salty and you won't need as much salt to season the dish.   

 
1 pound new or salad potatoes, boiled in the skins and
then refrigerated over night
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 TBS butter
2 TBS olive oil
1 slice of whole wheat bread, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried thyme, marjoram or summer savory
salt and black pepper to taste


If your potatoes are very large cut them into quarters.  You want them cut into about 1 inch sized cubes at any rate.   Heat the oil and butter in a heavy bottomed skillet until the butter begins to foam.  Tip in the cold potatoes. Season lightly and then brown them in the hot fat, turning them occasionally.  Add the onion, and continue to cook until the onion has softened.  Add the bread crumbs and dried herbs.  Stir to coat the bread crumbs in any fat and continue to cook until the crumbs have crisped up, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot.


The potato is my favourite vegetable.  Always has been and probably always will be.  I know that they are not that good for me so I try to consume less of them than I did in the past and when I do, I use new potatoes whenever possible.  Of course when it comes to mash, only an old potato will do.  Pan frying however . . .  new or salad potatoes tend to keep their shape much better. Look at all those golden brown edges.  Mmm . . .  these make for some good eating! As Gomer Pyle would say  . . .  Gawwwly!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
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