Pan-fried potatoes, or zharenaya kartoshka in Russian, were a staple of my childhood. Both of my babushkas made this dish nearly every time we visited them. My brother and I would vie for the crispiest pieces in the batch, topping them with an inappropriate amount of ketchup. Fried potatoes always had the addition of fried onion, and very often there would be sliced kosher hot dogs or turkey kielbasa in the mix. If we ate this for breakfast, scrambled eggs made their way into the pan. To this day, pan-fried potatoes are my ultimate comfort food.
While this recipe is simple, it requires some degree of patience and finesse. If you are in a rush, you might end up with potatoes that are either under or overdone, too mushy, or even burnt. Taking care to do each step well will ensure potatoes that are satisfyingly crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.
- 1½ lbs (about 3-4 medium) potatoes — ideally Yukon Gold, German Butterball, or Russet
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 5-6 oz hot dogs or kielbasa (about 3 hot dogs)
- 3-4 Tbsp neutral oil (sunflower, canola, or avocado)
- salt and pepper, as needed
- parsley and/or scallions, chopped, for garnish
- Start by washing your potatoes. You can peel the potatoes or leave the peel on. Cut the potatoes into even-sized (small fry shapes, half-moons, or rounds), ¼”-thick pieces. Soak the cut potatoes in water for 5-10 minutes; this removes excess starch and will help prevent them from falling apart in the pan. While the potatoes are soaking, thinly slice the onions and slice the hot dogs into even-size pieces. Drain the potatoes, place them on a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry.
- While the potatoes are soaking/drying, you can begin frying the onions and/or hot dogs. For the onions: Add a generous drizzle of oil to a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan on medium heat. Add the onions to the pan with a big pinch of salt, and allow them to get golden brown and a little crisp-edged, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the browned onions from the pan and reserve.
- For the hot dogs/kielbasa: Drizzle a little more oil into the same pan that the onions were cooked in, or a separate pan. Brown the sliced hot dogs on both sides on medium-high heat, about 5-6 minutes. Remove and reserve.
- Add a few Tbsp oil to the same pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sliced, rinsed, and dried potatoes. Make sure the potatoes are in an even layer and that the pan is not too crowded. Every 3-4 minutes, flip the potatoes and stir them. Cook until golden and crispy on all sides, about 20-25 minutes. Resist the urge to move them around too much — that will allow them to brown more easily on each side. Some potatoes may get a little darker or crispier than others, and that’s perfectly OK. A few minutes before the potatoes are fully crisped, season very generously with salt and pepper.
- Add the onions and hot dogs to the pan (if using), and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
- Serve with a fresh sprinkle of chopped parsley or scallions, and your favorite condiments.