>> Monday, 21 May 2012
One afternoon I went over to visit some family friends. Before I go on, I should tell you that they are retired. Like so many Caribbean folks, back in the 50s - 70s, especially nurses, Adele & Ivan had set sail on one of those many ships to go and work in the medical field in England, (in-GEER-land) as some would say (smile). Anyway, on that fine afternoon, I dropped in to say hello. As ever, whenever you visit the home of Caribbean folks, especially if they are of a particular generation, the first thing they do is to insist that you be fed. You must have something to eat or drink. It could be a whole meal, a snack, anything. It was no different on the afternoon I stopped by.
They were just about to sit down for a bite and a spot of tea. I saw Adele's plate of Egg & Chips and immediately felt hungry. I was more intrigued by the combination. Know this, I love chips but I had never thought to have them with eggs. What a great idea! That afternoon, I did not have to be asked twice if I needed something to eat nor did I need persuading to have just a little bite. I was hungry to try this combo!
As I finished the last chip and after taking a sip of tea, I asked Adele & Ivan how they came about this combination of having chips with eggs. I was quickly corrected, egg and chips. You see, there is a particular order of saying name of the dish. They went on to explain that "egg and chips" is a very popular low-cost meal that's eaten at tea time in England. The term working-class came up but given that that term is relative depending on which part of the world you are, they preferred that I explained it as such: low-cost, a budget meal. You can read more about it here.
Whether it's low-class, working class, low cost or a budget meal, let me tell you, a plate of egg and chips hits the spot - breakfast, lunch or dinner and anything in between. To feel less guilty about the chips, I baked them rather than fry them. I can't remember the last day I fried chips, I always make it in the oven. Oh but the fried chips are really good aren't they? They're definitely something special.
Making oven fries are easy and dressing them up with herbs or spices really takes the chip into a different realm.
GARLIC CILANTRO FRIES
- 2 lbs potatoes - Idaho or Yukon Gold which ever you prefer, scrubbed and cut into french fries, wedges or thick-cut chips
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 heaped teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro (coriander)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Insert a wire rack into an 18 x 13 sheet pan and set aside.
- When the water comes to a boil, salt the water.
- Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Time starts when the water comes back to a boil.
- Drain potatoes well and blot off excess water with paper towels. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.
- Drizzle oil all over potatoes, sprinkle black pepper and granulated garlic, toss gently to mix and coat.
- Spread potatoes out in a single layer on wire rack and place in oven.
- Roast for 30 minutes or until potatoes are deep golden with some gently browned edges.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully and quickly remove the rack and transfer the chips to a large bowl, sprinkle the cilantro all over the chips and toss to coat.
- Serve with fried eggs.
- Roasting the potatoes on the wire rack helps the heat to circulate evenly all around the potatoes and prevents you from having to tossing the potatoes half way through the cooking process. However, if you do not have a wire rack (aka cooling rack), add the potatoes directly to the sheet pan and toss the potatoes half way through the cooking process.
- You can use parsley instead of cilantro if you like.
- Fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, marjoram and oregano can be minced and be added to the potatoes at stage # 6 to give you flavoured chips. Or you can add cumin (ground and or ground), garam masala or your favourite dried spice mix.
- The potatoes should be adequately salted from being cooked in the salted water so there should be no need to add more.