The best home fries share similar qualities as their “French” counterparts: crispy on the outside, with a creamy-soft interior. But the size and shape of home fries, aka American fries, is what makes them a superior starchy side for any breakfast or brunch spread. (We draw the distinction between “home fries” and “potato hash” based on size; the latter is made with smaller diced potatoes, while home fries are larger, ~1-inch chunks.)
You can make home fries with any kind of starchy potato (such as Russet or Yukon gold), so long as you end up with bite-size chunks. Waxy varieties are fine as well, but won’t get as crispy. We usually use baby potatoes, which can be quickly halved or quartered and have a great skin-to-flesh ratio. Whatever you use, leave the skin on.
Home fries are usually combined with sauteed onions, and sometimes peppers and other additions. Ours are on the simple side—potatoes, onions, salt, and pepper—so consider that jumping-off point for adding other vegetables, herbs, and seasonings.
You can also play around with cooking fat. Home fries are a great way to use up surplus bacon fat, duck fat, or leftover frying oil. Supplementing the fat with a knob of butter will only add more flavor.
Cast Iron Home Fries
Yield: 4 servings
1½ pounds starchy potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 to 1½ -inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, olive oil, bacon fat, or duck fat
1 medium onion, diced
In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with an inch of water and season with a big pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
Meanwhile, cook the onions. In a No.8 (10-inch) or No.10 (12-inch) cast iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil (or other fat) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the potatoes in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately for maximum crispiness.