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Potato Wedges and Sweet Chili Sauce

Alright, here’s the secret to baking a potato wedge that has crisp edges: soak the potatoes in water and dry them off before baking and oil the pan, not the potatoes. The water helps wash away some starch and may help steam the potato interior. I honestly don’t know for sure how it works, I just know that it does having tried it with and without this rinse. Oiling the pan helps keep the potatoes from sticking and means they have a small layer of oil to help them brown more quickly, before the inside can get mealy.

Ingredients

  • 3 large baking potatoes i.e. Russet or Idaho
  • 3 tbs oil you can cut this down to two but the wedges may stick
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbs ground chili paste* easy to find in the Asian section of the grocery store or in Asian markets
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed (but still big enough pieces to fish out at the end)
  • 1/2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbs water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Wash the potatoes well (or peel them; I prefer my wedges skin-on) and slice them lengthwise in half and then each half into long quarters. Place all the wedges in a bowl and fill the bowl with water so they’re all submerged. Let sit for about five minutes.
  2. In the meantime, line a baking sheet with foil and directly the oil and salt directly onto the foil. When the potatoes are done, drain them and pat them dry with paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This will make them crispier and help the oil stick to the surface of the potato which adds to the golden brown color.
  3. Pour the wedges onto the oiled sheet and toss them around so they get coated in oil and salt. Then lay them out so they aren’t touching and roast for 15 minutes. Flip them around** so the side touching the foil doesn’t burn and roast for another 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown all around and a fork easily slides into the middle. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes and then gently peel them off the foil and serve them hot but not quite mouth-burning. These are best fresh. The leftovers will keep but they’ll lose their crispness
  4. While the wedges are cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan combine chili paste, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and garlic. Put the saucepan on the stove on medium high heat and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then turn the heat down as low as possible and let it steep while heated for 20 minutes. After the time is up, fish out the garlic pieces.
  5. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water, making sure the cornstarch dissolves fully – no lumps! Stir this into the chili mixture and turn the heat back up to medium high and boil it for a minute or two, until the whiteness of the cornstarch dissolves and the sauce is more of less translucent. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. It should keep in the fridge for up to two weeks and is delicious on everything, from wedges to pizza to frittata. It also make a great salad dressing component with some rice vinegar.

Recipe Notes

You can use fresh chiles here, find two small red ones (pick your poison in terms of heat) and grind them up in a blender with the liquid ingredients, then proceed with the recipe. You can remove the ribs and seeds to decrease the overall heat. But I keep a jar of chili paste in the fridge anyway to spice up meals which means for me, this sauce is made from staples – always a good thing.

The oil helps minimize sticking but they may still stick a little. If you peel them off gently you shouldn’t lose any bits on the foil.