Turkish Fries -Taters Of The Lost Ark

October 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Potatoes | 32 Comments

A few years ago we took a trip to California to visit our birdwatching/rock and roll music loving/wine and foodie friends Nancy and Neal. They treated us to a great little Turkish restaurant not far from their home. A wonderful family owned and operated small restaurant which Nancy has sadly reported is no longer in business. 

We fell in love with their Turkish Fries.

Nancy being the persuasive sort that she is, coerced a pretty good description of the recipe out of the owner and emailed it to me back in January, 2004. 

When I realized that I had printed it out and promptly misplaced it, I assumed it would show up eventually, hopefully sooner than later. 

I could never find it.  About a year ago, I became so obsessed, that I raided every cookbook in my possession and turned all spine side up and shook the dickens out of  each hoping the recipe would magically fall out. I emailed Nancy with a ridiculous and desperate request to search her “sent” email folder for the email. Not there.

Several times over the years, I’ve even Googled “Turkish Fries”…nada.  Hence, the lame attempt at “clever” for the title of this post. This Turkish tater recipe which has been buried for what seems like centuries has just been discovered, not in an Ark, but in the tombs of my cookbook collection…six years, eight months and one day later. I opened up one of my cookbooks and there it was neatly folded in half, tucked away for safe keeping, nicely preserved in between the pages. Odd, since I’ve opened up that cookbook many times without making the discovery. 

I want you to take a look at Nancy’s closing remark in the photo:  “Don’t pass this around or I’ll have to report you to the Turkish Tater Police”.  Ok, I’m officially not “passing” it around, I’m posting it around. Has the Statute of Limitations run out? Think I’m safe?

Let’s get started.

Hopefully you’ve got a good spice store or an on-line source to find exotic spices because you’ll need to have some Turkish red pepper. I found this amazing Aleppo Pepper at a local spice shop. Moist, oily, pungent, earthy with the addition of a little heat gives this a wonderful flavor on potatoes. The description on the back label even suggests potatoes as a recipient.

Peeling two good-sized Yukon Gold Potatoes, I used my mandolin to  cut perfect french fries. I soaked the fries in salted water while proceeding to the next step.

Slice one large sweet onion and saute in olive oil with 1 T. Aleppo pepper, until onion is carmelized, about 20 minutes.

In a cast iron skillet, add about 1/2 cup canola oil. Get the oil hot, add wet potatoes, salt and pepper and fry until all are beautifully browned.

Drain potatoes on paper towel, place in a serving bowl. Toss with carmelized onion/pepper mixture, chopped green onions, adjust with more salt and pepper if needed, and 1 teaspoon cumin.  Serves two.

Delicious!  Nancy, even thought it’s been years since I’ve had the original dish, I do believe I came pretty close to recreating. A big sigh of relief, the Turkish Fries recipe lives!

Turkish Fries…

They’re  What’s for a Great Side Dish.



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  1. What a great story! Funny how missing things something make themselves found again. (P.S. I won’t tell anyone you posted it if you don’t!)

  2. The taters sound really good and I’ll save it. We’re having your southwestern corn chowder for supper tonight.

    • Make it an International meal and side it with a plate of these fries. yum

  3. I hate it when I can’t find a recipe have to turn my entire bookcase upside down and even then don’t find it. These fries look so good, Lea Ann. I’m always looking for new ways to serve potatoes. I’m planning a trip to Penzy’s next week coincidentally so will look for the peppers.

    • These fries are really good Cathy, you’ve got to try them. You can’t believe how many times I’ve looked for that darn recipe.

  4. Wow! I’m so glad you found the recipe!! They are wonderful fries. You forgot to mention that for the whole experience a glass of water has to be dumped on someone. :).

    • Refresh my memory Nancy…was it Neal that took the brunt of that spill?

  5. These sound fantasic! And I love learning about a spice that I don’t have!

    • Me too Pam. Espcially when you find something really delicious to use it in. As always thanks for stopping by.

  6. This dish looks great. I love aleppo pepper and it’s sharper flavor. I add it to our home made tzatziki and hummus all the time. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Do you know I’ve never fried anything… but I might just have to try. These taters look really wonderful!

    • And you live in Texas????? I can-not believe you’ve never fried anything. Actually I’d prefer to think these were “sauteed” 🙂

  8. You know, I bet these taste better after all the time you’ve spent thinking about them and lusting after them. I mean, they sound pretty damn amazing as is.

  9. Wow, these fries look really good and it’s only breakfast time. What am I thinking?

    I’ll have to keep an eye out for that special seasoning. I’m sure it makes all the difference in the world on these gorgeous fries.

  10. You know, I’ve done stuff like that before (book tucking/losing in plain view)! Guess you found it when you were meant to…they look like they were worth all of the lusting! YUM! And yeah, I’m gonna find me some of that Aleppo Pepper…delish! 🙂

    • Definitely worth the lusting! As always thanks for the visit and the comment Heather, now get back to winning that money over at Foodbuzz! 🙂

  11. I’m loving this post – Taters of the Lost Ark – LMAO and the shots of the hidden “scrolls” were such a fun touch. Your posts are very entertaining! Besides all that, french-fried potatoes are such a guilty pleasure by themselves and the seasonings on these ramp that up a few notches. Very nice. I want to hear the story about dumping a glass of water on somebody. 🙂

    • LOL – Hidden scrolls?? Why wasn’t I clever enough to think of that. If I remember right, we had just gotten seated and Neal got a whole glass of water down his back. I’ll have to check with Nancy to verify.

      • Actually- it was you, Lea Ann, and Bob too, who had the water dumped in your laps. The waitress was adequately embarrassed 🙂

      • Well now, you’d think I could remember something like THAT! Too funny

  12. I was just about to seriously diss on you for the title to this blog entry.

    Then I read further and realized that these look like some really, really good fries. Way to go.

  13. We were in Denver for 45 minutes last week. No Turkish fries at the airport though.

    • ok, you are in serious trouble! You didn’t let me know????? I could have sent John Elway out for a meet and greet.

  14. I could have told you it was located in the cookbook that you kept in the city of Tanis. Just watch out for the snakes….why did it have to be snakes? ha ha

    Ok, seriously though, these fries look awesome. I bet that Turkish pepper adds a great kick to these.

    • LOL Chris, I did think about throwing in a sentence that included snakes and a Harrison Ford rescue!

  15. Oh my! The things you find tucked in books years later, Lea Ann! See how smart you were? Usually it’s an old grocery list…but this time, you really had a find! What fabulous looking fries. No wonder you were upset about losing the recipe.
    I don’t think you’ll be in any trouble; I won’t tell.

    • I was very glad to find that recipe Barbara! Really a delicious combo of flavors.

  16. These fries look so delicious! Must give it a try!

  17. I love it! That’s exactly something I would do. Put something away in a “logical” place and never find it again. 🙂

    The potatoes sound delicious, I can see why you tried to hard to recreate them.

    • Those potatoes are delicious Kristi. Can’t wait to make them again.

  18. Now I have a purpose for those mysterious Aleppo peppers in my spice cabinet.
    Although, I would try frying twice, like Belgium fries, for extra crispiness.

    Your Turkish Fries recipe lives for all to enjoy. Thanks Lea Ann!

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