Start to Finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Cast iron skillets are a kitchen tool that often is passed down, as the more it's used, the more it becomes seasoned, giving foods cooked in it a richer, fuller flavor. A well seasoned cast iron skillet is nonstick, meaning you don't need excessive amounts of oil to fry the potatoes. A small amount of butter and the natural seasoning of the cast iron is all the potatoes need to be fried up crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and all around delicious.
To season a new cast iron skillet, rub cooled bacon fat all over the pan, both inside and outside. Place the skillet on the top rack of your oven, with a baking sheet on the bottom rack. Bake the skillet at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. Carefully remove the pan and allow it to fully cool before using. You can use other fats besides bacon to season the skillet if you prefer.
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
Cast iron cookware heats up much more evenly than pans made from other materials and stays nice and hot, so you rarely need to turn the heat higher than medium.
Step 1: Cut the Potatoes
Use a sharp knife to cut the potatoes into french-fry style slices or chop them into smaller pieces such as in potatoes O'Brien.
Step 2: Prepare the Skillet
Heat the cast iron skillet on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Let the butter melt slightly before adding the potatoes, but not so much that it is cooked off.
Step 3: Cook the Potatoes
Add the potatoes to the cast iron skillet and cook for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring to ensure the potatoes are nice and brown on all sides.
Season with salt and pepper and serve the fried potatoes while they're hot.
Because cast iron pans stay hot, always use a potholder or oven mitt to handle the skillet. When you are done using it, allow extra time for the pan to cool, and use caution when checking to verify it's cool enough to touch with your bare hands.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil instead of butter.
- Season the potatoes with a seasoning salt or fresh herbs instead of salt and pepper.
- Make potatoes O'Brien by frying chopped onions and peppers with the potatoes.
- Add jerk or Cajun seasoning mix.
- Use a dash of cumin and curry powder on the fried potatoes.
Serve up fried potatoes as breakfast along with fruit and eggs, or turn them into a skillet scramble by mixing in chopped vegetables and bacon or sausage then topping it with a fried egg. Fried potatoes are a great base for a casserole -- both a breakfast or dinner variation. Or substitute cast iron fried potatoes for dishes that traditionally come with mashed or baked potatoes, such as fried chicken or steak.