My mother used to make a breakfast potatoes often on Saturday mornings while I was growing up. I realized the other day that I don't think I have made them at all. Not once. But, I order them at restaurants so it's not like I have been deprived for the last 9 years. It was high time, I decided to make them for myself. After all, I had leftover Yukon golds waiting to be used, no meal plan in place and my friend Kel was coming over for breakfast. The perfect storm.
Instead of regular potatoes I decided to make them O'Brien style with onions and bell pepper. I love that combination and have a very vivid memory from childhood about visiting my Grandparents in Colorado (I lived in California at the time) along with a group of missionaries or some church thing like that. One morning they made breakfast burritos. Not just any breakfast burrito but the best breakfast burrito I have ever eaten. The one that I couldn't have known at the time I would compare to all other breakfast burritos for the rest of my life. I can't remember exact specifics other than it had scrambled eggs, cheddar, potatoes and sauteed bell peppers. The bell peppers made it awesome. I remembered that this particular morning when I knew I was going to make these potatoes with the goal of making breakfast wraps. Instead of sauteing strips of bell pepper separately, it made sense for this morning anyway, to chuck them in with the potatoes, so that's what I did. They browned and crisped up beautifully and were seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder. They would make my mother proud. Kel, on the other hand was a little harder to please. I learned this as I watched her carefully pick every bell pepper out and place it on the side of her plate. She doesn't like them. Go figure. I am learning she doesn't like a lot of things. She is one of those picky eaters that I can't stand. But I love her. I loved her before I knew about this picky eating business or it might have changed the course of our friendship. Only kind of kidding. OK fine, I'm all the way kidding but I still can't stand it.
The secret to getting these to crisp up is using a flat spatula for turning, and not turning them until they have cooked in the pan for 5 minute intervals. This gives them time to sit and brown and soak up the seasoning. like I mentioned above, I made breakfast wraps with these bad boys. I layered a wheat tortilla wrap with the potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon (I would have used sausage if I had it) and a light dusting of Parmesan cheese, then rolled them up and cut them on the diagonal. They were really, really good. Cheddar would be great on these wraps, as would a little avocado and even a bit of salsa if you are into that sort of thing.
adapted (a little) from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Hashed Brown's recipe
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons minced scallions, for garnish
Melt butter in a large (10-12-inch) saute pan. Add the potatoes, onions, bell pepper, salt, pepper and garlic powder and cook over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally with a flat spatula, until the potatoes are evenly browned and cooked through. (Allow the potatoes to cook for 5 minutes before turning.) Turn off the heat and add the scallions. Serve hot.
Use any leftover potatoes in a frittata the next day. You can peel and dice the potatoes early and keep them in the refrigerator in a bowl of cold water. Drain them and dry them well with paper towels before frying.