Deep fried starch may not be good for your health but certainly tastes good. French fries are by far the most popular in this category. Although this may not be strictly “Izakaya” food, it goes well with any drinks–sake, beer or wine. We found this oven fried potato recipe in “Cook’s Illustrated“. It is not “low fat” by any means, but it probably is better than the deep fried counter part, and, actually, in our hands, this oven fried potato tastes much better than our deep fried ones. The leftovers will reheat very well in a toaster oven the next day.
The original recipe recommend Russet potatoes which we used and were good but we also used “white” potatoes and we like the white potatoes better. Reiterating from the recipe in the Cook Illustrated; Preheat your oven at 475F (We use a convection oven at 450F). After removing the skin of the potatoes, cut into long half inch wide sticks, and soak them in warm tap water for 10-15 minutes to remove excess starch. Rinse and pat dry using a paper towel. In a large bowl, add the potatoes and 3-4 tbs of vegetable or peanut oil and toss well to coat. Meanwhile on a large sheet pan, spread 1 tbs of oil and sprinkle salt (about 2 tsp or more) and 1/2 tsp of black pepper (We use kosher salt. The larger salt gains appear to prevent the potatoes from sticking more than for seasoning). Spread, the potatoes in a single layer keeping some spaces between the potatoes. Tightly cover the sheet pan with aluminum foil and place it on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake another 15 to 20 minutes. Turn over the potatoes with a spatula and/or tongs and bake another 10-15 minutes. When the surface is nicely golden brown remove from the oven and place the potatoes on another sheet pan lined with paper towel. Season with extra salt if desired.
The outside is nicely crunchy and the inside is creamy soft. Certainly we believe this is the best oven fried potatoes. We make this as an accompaniment for steaks or just as is like tonight, with sake. In that case, we eat them with a lemon and salt, otherwise, with ketchup.