A few years ago we took a trip to California to visit our birdwatching/rock and roll music loving/wine and foodie friends Nancy and Neal. They treated us to a great little Turkish restaurant not far from their home. A wonderful family owned and operated small restaurant which Nancy has sadly reported is no longer in business.
We fell in love with their Turkish Fries.
Nancy being the persuasive sort that she is, coerced a pretty good description of the recipe out of the owner and emailed it to me back in January, 2004.
When I realized that I had printed it out and promptly misplaced it, I assumed it would show up eventually, hopefully sooner than later.
I could never find it. About a year ago, I became so obsessed, that I raided every cookbook in my possession and turned all spine side up and shook the dickens out of each hoping the recipe would magically fall out. I emailed Nancy with a ridiculous and desperate request to search her “sent” email folder for the email. Not there.
Several times over the years, I’ve even Googled “Turkish Fries”…nada. Hence, the lame attempt at “clever” for the title of this post. This Turkish tater recipe which has been buried for what seems like centuries has just been discovered, not in an Ark, but in the tombs of my cookbook collection…six years, eight months and one day later. I opened up one of my cookbooks and there it was neatly folded in half, tucked away for safe keeping, nicely preserved in between the pages. Odd, since I’ve opened up that cookbook many times without making the discovery.
I want you to take a look at Nancy’s closing remark in the photo: “Don’t pass this around or I’ll have to report you to the Turkish Tater Police”. Ok, I’m officially not “passing” it around, I’m posting it around. Has the Statute of Limitations run out? Think I’m safe?
Let’s get started.
Hopefully you’ve got a good spice store or an on-line source to find exotic spices because you’ll need to have some Turkish red pepper. I found this amazing Aleppo Pepper at a local spice shop. Moist, oily, pungent, earthy with the addition of a little heat gives this a wonderful flavor on potatoes. The description on the back label even suggests potatoes as a recipient.
Peeling two good-sized Yukon Gold Potatoes, I used my mandolin to cut perfect french fries. I soaked the fries in salted water while proceeding to the next step.
Slice one large sweet onion and saute in olive oil with 1 T. Aleppo pepper, until onion is carmelized, about 20 minutes.
In a cast iron skillet, add about 1/2 cup canola oil. Get the oil hot, add wet potatoes, salt and pepper and fry until all are beautifully browned.
Drain potatoes on paper towel, place in a serving bowl. Toss with carmelized onion/pepper mixture, chopped green onions, adjust with more salt and pepper if needed, and 1 teaspoon cumin. Serves two.
Delicious! Nancy, even thought it’s been years since I’ve had the original dish, I do believe I came pretty close to recreating. A big sigh of relief, the Turkish Fries recipe lives!
They’re What’s for a Great Side Dish.