Last year Amy Storch (amalah.com) and her husband Jason (dcfoodies.com) appeared on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay as judges. The challenge was moules frites and there are not many things on this Earth I like more than moules frites (except maybe steak frites, but wait, is my Midwest meat-and-potatoes root stock showing?) So, essentially the only reason I knew about this episode was because I read about it on Amy’s blog. (Which is generally really funny, you should check it out especially if you have young kids.)
During the show, the chef at Granville Moore’s in Washington DC revealed his secret for getting his frites super-crispy and delicious. He freezes the potatoes first! Let’s be honest, I make tater tots all the time (you’re welcome, Eric) but it never occured to me to freeze fresh cut potatoes before frying them.
After returning from Barcelona, my several attempts at patatas bravas were met with just okay results. I could not get the potatoes crispy enough on the first round of frying. However, after cutting them up into 1/2 inch chunks and sticking them in the freezer for an hour or so, success! It still takes a bit of trial and error to get the oil temperature constant but I usually fry them for about 8 minutes total so the inside in soft/cooked and the outside is golden brown/crispy.
To finish them off, saute one Tbsp of green garlic or shallots in 1 Tbsp olive oil until they start to color, then stir in 1 Tbsp smoked paprika (yes, it has to be the smoked kind, preferably Spanish). Combine this mixture with about 1/4 cup of each ketchup and mayo, mix well, then drizzle over plate of potatoes. It’s like being back in Spain. Yum.
More interested in the mussels? Here’s a video of the moules preparation.