It was an evening like any other.
I was meandering home down the dimly-lit side street, lost in thought, when something caught my eye and I halted. I looked down and could see, around and ahead of me, potato skins mysteriously scattered along the pavement. I glanced around furtively, a Poirot-like curiosity awakened, but could spy no shred of other vegetable matter in the vicinity.
For twenty or so yards, I followed the trail of distinctive pinky-red rooster peelings and stopped at a shabby green doorway. I imagined some unfortunate Hansel or Gretel, compelled to leave behind an identifiable trail, but were those peels leading away from that door or leading me, La Spud, to it?
I scurried on, the mystery unsolved. For days afterward, the trail remained and I wondered about it each time I passed.
While I will probably never know the truth about those potato peels, I did get to pondering the usual fate of a potato’s skin. Sometimes eaten but, more often than not, cast aside – if not, inexplicably, on the pavement, then onto the compost heap or into the bin it goes.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
So it was that the next time I found myself wielding a potato peeler, I thought about putting the newly liberated peelings to better use. While the spuds themselves morphed into mash, their peels were shredded, fried and the two reunited to give the mash a new, crispy crown. It was like they were always meant to be together, no mystery about it.
Fried Potato Peels
This is such a simple idea, it barely needs a formal recipe, beyond the instructions to shred the potato peels, fry until crispy and apply as a garnish.
It does, of course, assume that you are, at the same time, making some other potato dish (such as mash) which involves first peeling your spuds.
- potato peelings (from potatoes which have first been scrubbed clean)
- olive oil or bacon fat
- pinch of salt
You’ll also need:
- A frying pan, large enough to accommodate the shredded potato peels
- Gather together your potato peelings and slice them very finely (to a width of 1-2mm) using a sharp knife.
- Place your frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add olive oil to coat the pan (or use bacon fat if you prefer).
- Add the shredded potato peels and a pinch of salt – they should start sizzling straight away. Don’t crowd the pan too much, as you want the peels to fry, not steam, so if you have a large amount of peels, you might want to fry them in batches.
- Fry the potato peels, stirring occasionally, until crispy, probably around 6-8 minutes, though it will depend somewhat on how thinly the potatoes were peeled to begin with. Drain on kitchen paper and apply as a garnish at will.
- You can, of course, add some flavourings to the peels as you fry them, perhaps some whole cumin seeds or a little crushed garlic, or whatever else takes your fancy.
- A crispy potato garnish for your mash where, before, there was none.