Greek Fries With Pancetta
One of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to food is French fries. The smell of them, their crispy salty edges, I just can’t resist them. What’s better than plain French fries? Loaded French fries! One of my all time favourite loaded French fries are of course Greek fries. Usually your typical Greek fries are a stack of fresh hot fries, topped with oregano, feta and sometimes fresh herbs and paprika. They are fantastic that way but I thought I would load them with some extra goodness so I came up with this version and it’s pretty darn good. I came up with it to enter a competition a potato company was having. They didn’t win any prizes but they are so so good and needed to be on the blog so I’m adding them on here.
There are two things that make these even better then regular Greek fries. The first reason is that, as I mentioned above, they are loaded with extra goodies making them even more delicious! The second reason is that they are roasted not fried. I completely avoided fried food - if I can help it. If hubby is eating his fries, you better believe I’m going to nab a few of them. I’m only human! But I won’t order them ever for myself and so I basically fit in to that whole stereotype of the woman eating fries off her man’s plate while she orders a salad. When asked why she didn’t order her own - she (me) replies ‘I don’t eat fries, but yours taste so good’. The only difference is I never order just salad, but I do always steal a few fries off Johann’s plate.
How to get roasted potatoes crispy?
Back to these ‘fries’. They get perfectly crisp in the oven and because they are roasted smothered in herbs, they taste amazing. The herbs and spices get locked in and make them so flavourful. The key to getting roasted potatoes nice and crisp is all in the preparation. It’s a must to soak them in a large bowl of water and let them sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour which helps draw out some of the starch, then drain and dry them in a clean kitchen towel. This step definitely ensures extra crispy edges on your roasted potatoes. Other recipes call for dusting them with cornstarch, arrowroot or baking powder before roasting them but there was no need for that in this recipe.
I love the herb dressing that gets drizzled over the fries before serving. It’s a nice touch and adds so much more flavour. It’s completely optional though. You don’t have to dress them if you would prefer not to. The pancetta gives a nice salty crispy bite to the fries and the tzatziki is alway the perfect thing to serve these with, either dolloped over them or on the side to dip them in. I have attached my go-to quick tzatziki recipe below. The feta adds a nice briny flavour that I wouldnt trade for he world and I always love a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving them. They are out of this world and I know you will love them. They are roasted making them practically guilt free and are perfect for any game day cause your guests can grab fries as they please and chow down. Game day and award season is all about the finger food while you’re parked in front of the TV! These will be a definitely be a hit. Enjoy!
- 3 lbs baby potatoes (white, baby red potatoes, or a mix of the two)
- 6 tbsps olive oil divided plus a little more for drizzling over baking pan
- 1-1½ tbsp of Italian seasoning (more if you want your potatoes extra herby
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp dried minced onion
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ lb of pancetta chopped (bacon can be used as an alternative
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup of crumbled feta (more to taste)
- 1 cup of homemade or store bought tzatziki to dip or dollop (optional) - homemade tzatziki recipe below
- Lemon wedges to serve (optional)
- Slice baby potatoes in half (quartering any unusually large ones), then place into a bowl of cold water.
- Let potatoes soak about 30 minutes, changing the water if it becomes really cloudy to reduce starch in potatoes and make them extra crispy when baking.
- Line an extra large baking sheet with parchment paper and place in oven on the middle rack.
- Preheat oven to 400 ° F with baking sheet inside to get it nice and hot.
- After the half hour is up rinse the potatoes with clean cold water, and place into a kitchen towel or paper towels to dry thoroughly.
- Transfer the dried potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 4 tbsps of the olive oil and toss to coat.
- Add all seasonings and use your hands to rub the mixture into all the potatoes.
- Remove baking sheet from oven (very carefully as it will be HOT!!), and drizzle it lightly with a little bit of extra olive oil.
- Add potatoes to hot baking sheet and spread carefully into an even layer.
- Roast potatoes for 25 minutes, then flip each potato over or stir with a spatula and shake pan and return back to the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
- While the potatoes are baking heat a large frying pan over medium heat
- Add chopped pancetta and cook until fat has rendered and pancetta is browned and crispy then remove from pan with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk the remaining olive oil with the chopped parsley and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are out of the oven drizzle the olive oil and parsley over them and toss gently in the pan and then transfer to platter and taste and season with extra salt and pepper as needed.
- Sprinkle with pancetta, feta and dollops of tzatziki if using and serve alongside lemon wedges.
- 1 whole 750 gram container of yoghurt strained over night (I layer a cheese cloth or a few layers of paper towels onto a metal sieve over a bowl then add the yogurt and cover with plate or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight)
- ½-1 cucumber peeled, large seeds scooped out grated and water thoroughly squeezed or wrung out of it using paper towels or clean dish towel or cheesecloth
- 2 cloves of garlic grated more to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of ½ lemon plus more for taste
- 1 tbsp of olive oil plus a little extra to drizzle over when serving
- Extras I like to add to my tzatziki but are optional: chopped fresh mint or dill to taste
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add more lemon juice for a bit more zing and more garlic for a more intensely garlicky tzatziki. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.