Wednesday, January 04, 2012

French Fry Diary 319: Trader Joe's Shredded Hash Browns Two Ways

The last time I reviewed Trader Joe's Shredded Hash Browns I theorized that they could also be damned good matchstick fries (pretty much self-explanatory, or if you insist, very very thin shoestrings), if deep fried or baked. Well, on my most recent trip to TJ's, I picked some up, and had the opportunity to give it a try.

For deep frying, it's got to be quick, and you've got to keep your eyes on them. They are so thin, they cook fast. Get the oil hot, drop the taters, and as soon as they all float, get 'em outta there - they're done. Now I was surprised at how they shrank but don't worry.

They're not fries in the traditional sense or even how I imagined they would be, but they are damned good potato sticks, just like French's or Herr's, only without the salt (albeit with more oil). They are tasty, very crispy, and worth giving this cooking method a try.

I also tried to bake Trader Joe's Shredded Hash Browns. The first attempt was on a greased pan in the oven for ten minutes at 425 degrees - all completely arbitrary guess work. All it did was thaw them. No browning, but they smelled good. I gave them another ten minutes, watching them carefully, because I wasn't really looking to make another batch of potato sticks.

Twenty minutes seemed just enough time. These were mini-fries, what are called in the industry matchstick fries, and more in the line of what I was expecting. Whereas the deep fried version was strictly a finger food, these could be eaten with a fork.

All in all this was a good experiment in cooking potatoes two ways they weren't strictly meant to be. If you try it at home, I hope you enjoy!

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