When I was little, my family used to go to the fair every year. My father would always eat french fries and load them up with malt vinegar. For me, it was grown-up food at its finest. My mother would turn her nose up at the fries, preferring her’s plain with salt. There is one thing about my father, he knew his way around potatoes, in whatever form they may have taken.I am a product of my food environment, appreciating my fries plain or with malt vinegar, my mashed potatoes creamy, and my baked potatoes baked without a foil wrapping so that the skin can get full flavored from the oven heat. In my food preferences, potatoes rank second only to bread. And french fries? They are at the top of the potato list.Recently I was making oven fries, thick wedges with the peelings left on. On a whim I decided to toss the uncooked potato wedges with malt vinegar. Those days of going to the fair with my parents in the still hot South Carolina October evenings came floating back into my mind when I took my first bite. It was a pretty good memory, especially when I recalled my father standing by the french fry stand happily dowsing his fresh, hot fries with a bottle of malt vinegar.
For these fries, I used large russet bakers, unpeeled and cut into thick wedges. The malt vinegar gave the fries a pleasant tang, not as deep and zingy as it is all on its own, yet somehow better. Smoked paprika brought some depth, hinting at woodsiness and warmth. The salt and pepper? They did what they do.
John and I couldn’t stay out of the fries. We ate way too many, but something about them was just irresistible. Maybe next time around, I’ll make the fries as a main course and have a side salad of something healthy. Or maybe they will be a side for our favorite homemade hamburgers or sloppy joes. Or maybe we’ll just have a heaping plate of fries, all by themselves, beautiful in their oven-fried glory.
Malt Vinegar Oven Fries
Crispy with the flavor of malt vinegar, these fries will knock your socks off!
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into wedges (I used large russet baking potatoes, but medium size potatoes will work, too. Cut the wedges so that the thickest edge is about 1/2-inch thick.)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup malt vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (this is a flavor power house–go get some)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
- In a large bowl toss all of the ingredients together.
- Spread in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. I lined my baking sheet with foil, then lightly oiled the foil and placed the potatoes on the foil.
- Pour any remaining mixture from the bowl over the potato wedges.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes, turning potatoes over halfway through baking time. Bake until golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork, but do not over-cook.
This recipe has been linked to the following:
- Six Sister’s Stuff–Strut Your Stuff Saturday Link Party #64
- The Country Cook–Weekend Potluck #37
- Flour Me With Love–Mix It Up Monday