During my senior year of college, I lived in a house down by the beach with three of my friends. My school was in southern Rhode Island, and all of the houses that were beach rentals during the summer months became housing for the college kids during the year. We were so lucky; not only were we within walking distance of the beach, but we had a ton of space - our own rooms, a yard, plenty of parking and a big kitchen. It was the first time we didn't have the dining halls on campus to fall back on, and though I really wasn't much of a cook at the time, we always had the best time grocery shopping and trying to put meals together.
Though that said, like most college kids we still picked up our fair share of take-out. One of my favorite splurges was always the potato wedges at KFC. I have a soft spot for potatoes in pretty much any form, but those spicy, crunchy wedges were just completely irresistible. We'd always bring our take-out home, gather in the living room and watch Jeopardy while we ate. Does that make us huge nerds??
I can't remember the last time I had those potato wedges so when I saw a copycat recipe for them, it was a no-brainer that I needed to try it. It's time like these I'm so glad I've gotten over my fear of frying :) And yes, these are definitely a splurge but I'd gladly skip dessert all month to justify them. They're even better than the wedges I loved in college! So unbelievably crunchy and really flavorful - the spice mixture even has a bit of cayenne pepper in it which gives them a touch of heat. Shane loved them too - in fact when I recently mentioned I wanted to blog them but didn't really love the pictures, he was ready to jump in the kitchen and help me make another batch that night. I made do with the shots I already had, so we didn't, but it was oh so tempting.
Copycat KFC Crispy Potato Wedges
from Cook's Country, February/March 2007
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large russet potatoes (about 1 3/4 lb), scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Add first six ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
Combine the potato wedges with 4 teaspoons of the spice mixture and 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Toss to coat, then cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until the potatoes are tender (but not falling apart), about 7-9 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, shake the bowl to redistribute the potatoes (don't take off the plastic wrap to do this). Remember, all microwaves vary, so your cooking time may be slightly shorter or longer. Very carefully remove the plastic wrap - the steam released will be very hot. Drain the potatoes, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet and allow to cool, about 10 minutes. (You can let the potatoes sit for up to 2 hours at this point.)
Add about 2 inches of oil to a large Dutch oven set over high heat. Heat until the oil comes to 340 F. Meanwhile, add the buttermilk and baking soda to one large bowl, and combine the cornstarch and flour in a second bowl. Dredge the wedges in the flour mixture, then dip in the buttermilk and finally back into the flour mixture. Shake off excess at every step, then transfer the wedges to a wire rack placed inside of a rimmed baking sheet. (You can coat the potatoes up to 30 minutes in advance.)
When oil reach temperature, fry the wedges in two batches, letting each cook until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes (be sure to let the oil come back to temperature before adding the second batch). When the wedges come out of the oil, transfer them to a large bowl and toss each batch with 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Remove from the bowl to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.