If you have been following along for a while now, you know that sometimes my brain works in ways that don’t always make sense. At least not to the outside world. Did you know that today is National Idaho Day? We all know that the best potatoes come from Idaho. So it wasn’t a huge leap to think French Fries, right? Well, yes and no.
My first thought of Idaho was potato. We’ve driven through Idaho on our way to Yellowstone more times than I can count. Miles of wide open space. And you know when you’ve entered potato-growing country because the landscape is dotted with all these strange dirt-covered structures. Those are where the potatoes are stored.
One of the places we like to explore when driving through Idaho is Crater’s of the Moon. It’s like going to another world entirely. You can see why NASA used the area to train for moon walks.
If you are going to meander through Idaho, then you’ve got to visit Arco. In this sparse, vastly empty corner of Idaho is American’s first ever nuclear lit city. That’s Arco’s claim to fame, but it’s really more a town than a city. On July 17, 1955 the town’s lights were powered by an experimental nuclear power plant twenty miles outside of town. The experiment lasted two hours. For those willing to take a very long drive into the middle of nowhere, you can visit the plant. It’s interesting, and a little unsettling since they check to see if you are radioactive on your way out.
Nuclear Power made me think of Nuclear Subs. Nuclear Subs made me think of a fun little place on the Las Vegas Strip that is now one of those celebrity failures in the restaurant business – Steven Spielberg’s Dive.
That was a fun place. And they served up the best French Fries on the planet. You could make a meal out of one order of fries. The fries could be ordered in a variety of flavors, served with several dipping sauces. Two of our favorites were the Garlic Fries and the Chipotle Fries. Remembering Dive’s awesome fries brought me full circle, to Idaho’s Potatoes . . .
Smoky Chipotle Idaho Fries with Dipping Sauce
Chipotle Dipping Sauce
8 oz Sour Cream
3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1/4 Lime, juiced
Kosher Salt to taste
To Make Dipping Sauce
Place sour cream and peppers into a blender. Squeeze 1/4 of a lime (1 wedge) over the mixture.
Blend until smooth. Taste and season as desired with a pinch of Kosher salt.
Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve.
Smoky Chipotle Idaho Fries
3 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt to taste
1 1/3 lbs Idaho Russet Potatoes
To Make Oven Fries
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove 1 Chipotle Pepper from the adobo sauce. Finely chop the pepper and place in a large mixing bowl. Add oil, Paprika and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.
Scrub potatoes and pat dry. Cut potatoes into French Fry-size slices, about ¼ inch thick. Add fries to the bowl with the chipotle mixture. Toss well to coat completely.
Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the heated oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Turn potatoes for even cooking about mid-way through cooking time. A flat-bottomed metal spatula or fish spatula is best for turning.
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before serving.
Now you could serve these potatoes up right, just like a restaurant in one of those fancy serving vesicles with a place to serve the sauce.
Or use a cup instead. Insert potatoes up-right. Serve with a small bowl of dipping sauce on the side.