Just like cooking any classic dish, be it a pizza or lasagna, baking perfect potato wedges requires knowing your loved ones' preferences. My husband remembers hundreds of famous actors names and I "store" my co-workers' preferences for crunchiness level of cookies, my neighbor's son's "cheesiness" amount on pizza, my daughter's requirement for sweetness on the carrot cake, etc. etc. I always say, "A good recipe will only be great when the cook makes it the best for everyone."
Back to the point of making the BAKED POTATO WEDGES: take basic simple ingredients - russet potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper; scrub unpeeled potatoes, slice them in eighths, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes, toss them in oil and seasonings (in a ziplock bag or a dish), and bake them in the oven at 400 degrees F for 1 hour (turning at 30-minute mark).
It will take some trial and error to achieve the proper crunchiness and seasoning level varying the type of cooking dish, length of time, and spice amount, but following these general guidelines will provide for the ultimate skin-like exterior and well-cooked interior:
1. Russet potatoes are the best for crunchy outside (but may use Yukon Gold)
2. Soaking potato slices in hot water for 10 minutes (or cold water for 30 minutes) helps to take out some starch and make extra crispy outer edges
3. Cut into 1/8 slices for thinner wedges or 1/6 slices for more "potatoey" softness in the center.
4. Toss in oil (olive, vegetable, or bacon grease) to achieve crispy wedges. Without any grease, they may turn out chewy and rubbery.
5. Space apart enough to allow heat to travel between and not produce steamed wedges instead
6. Cut baking time in half if using an air fryer instead of a traditional oven
To bake PERFECT POTATO WEDGES: Separate your wedges into several batches depending on each person's preferences. I end up using 3 medium potatoes for 2 adults and 2 teenagers. One potato gets sliced into eighths and baked at 425 degrees on a pizza stone (or a cast iron frying pan) for ultra-crispy wedges. Wedges from the potato baked on the stainless steel baking sheet are usually less crunchy than the ones on the tin sheet. Salt and pepper ONLY for the kids, my husband likes lots of cajun on his chewy wedges (skip the salt if using cajun) in addition to the garlic and onion powder. Use freshly ground black pepper for more aroma. I also add chopped fresh garlic, Italian seasoning, and shredded cheddar cheese to my wedges. If adding parmesan cheese (or any cheese), sprinkle it towards the end to prevent burnt spots.
The best thing about potato wedges is they are so diverse and can be modified to anyone's liking: serve as a side dish or a left-over snack (unlike old french fries, cold wedges are great on the go or reheat at 400 degrees oven/air fryer), dip them (in Velveeta nacho cheese sauce, ketchup, tomato pasta sauce, sour cream, salsa), put spread on them (prepared horseradish, cream cheese with jalapenos, mayo, ranch), or sprinkle fresh greens on top (parsley, green onions, basil, etc).
1. Freeze leftover cooled baked wedges for up to 1 month in airtight ziplock bags
2. Unbaked sliced wedges can be kept in the water in the refrigerator for 1-2 days
3. Serve hot straight out of the oven if the ultimate crispy wedges desired
4. Baked potato wedges should not be kept at room temperature for longer than 6 hours. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours (to prevent bad bacteria growth).
5. NEVER eat raw potatoes, potato sprouts (eyes), potatoes that turned green, or potato plant leaves (they contain poisonous glycoalkaloids-solanine and chaconine-harmful to humans and animals). The same applies to toxic leaves of eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes. EXCLUDE SWEET POTATOES leaves, their green vines are edible and contain fiber, calcium, zinc, iron, beta carotene, and even protein.
6. ALWAYS store raw potatoes in dry, dark and cool conditions for up to a month (or until signs of drying or growing appear).
1. Potatoes are highly nutritious but many nutrients get lost during cooking, storing, and aging (length of time cooked or stored)
2. Boiling potatoes causes water-soluble vitamins (B1, B6, and C) and minerals (potassium) escape. For mashed potatoes, for example, boil with skins on to minimize the losing of the nutrients. In addition to composting, peeled potato skins can be given to chickens, dogs, or other pets.
3. Potatoes are HIGH in starch, which is carbohydrate, our main source of energy (carbs make up almost half of our calories for the day). Resistant starch in cold cooked potato help control blood glucose and lipids. Fat-free carb with micronutrients (folate, iron, amino acids lysine and tryptophan, 10mg Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper, antioxidants-carotenes or flavonoids-in yellow or purple), potatoes are also gluten free (for those who have gluten protein allergies from wheat and rye)
4. Although potatoes are low on protein (1 medium boiled potato about 3g protein), they are high in fiber (3g+ with skins on).
5. LOW CALORIE FOOD: 1 medium boiled potato about 140 calories (almost half the calories in same amount of rice or noodles)
6. BENEFITS SUMMARY: Low sodium with high potassium, boiled/baked potatoes are great for blood pressure management, weight loss (low calorie carb with satisfying feeling of fullness from fibre and compound proteinase inhibitor 2), and important nutrients like potassium and vitamin B6 (that help produce sleep hormones serotonin and melatonin). The iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc maintain stronger bones, healthy skin, and nervous system. Folate helps cell growth and red blood cells development. Potatoes keep the liver healthy and reduce gut inflammation (resistant starch-a prebiotic-feeds beneficial bacteria/fora in the colon that produce short-chain fatty acids, which can heal the gut lining)
7. EAT BALANCED DIET Potatoes lack B12, fat and protein and provide lower amounts of calcium and zinc. Be careful slimming down on "potato diet" since low carb eating habits may slow down metabolism by burning less calories in the long run when lean body mass leads to muscle loss and "adaptive thermogenesis", process of making weight loss extremely difficult.
Quick dinner idea: best BBQ flavor sausage ever, sizzled in a cast iron pan and served on a bun with raw onions and potato wedges.