Fried Potatoes (Batatas Fritas)

In Brazil they called them batatas à Portuguesa though I did have to ask what these were… Perhaps this is an example of cultural stereotyping. I did order them and as they were set on the table I immediately recognised them as my grandmother’s fries. Cut by hand (not on a chopping board) by holding the potato in the left hand and cutting towards your thumb with a sharp paring knife with the right hand (invert for left-handed I guess). My grandmother used to make them on a large shallow frying pan over gas with vegetable oil. I can never get that to work quite right (I cook on an Aga, you see…). So here’s my procedure when using a deep-fryer.

Portuguese Fried Potatoes
Portuguese Fried Potatoes

1. Peel and cut potatoes in slices as described above (between 1 mm and 5 mm: this is not mire-poix, they’re supposed to be of slightly different sizes). Potatoes should be firm and starchy.

2. Soak in cold water for rougly 10 minutes, drain and dry thoroughly on a clean teatowel (don’t use paper towels – less eco and not quite the right feel).

3. Put the potatoes in the hot oil (near maximum setting on a standard deep fryer) until light golden

4. Lift the deep fryer basket and hold for 5 minutes

5. Return the basket to the hot oil and fry for another 30 seconds (this ensures crispness or at least that’s my belief at the moment)

6. Place potatoes on a plate covered with two sheets of paper towels (don’t use tea towels though they’re more eco…)

7. Season generously with good salt (fleur de sel works particularly nice – more about this in another post…)

Summary Trick: Re-fry for crispness

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Pedro Rebelo

Pedro is a composer, sound artist and performer. In 2002, he was awarded a PhD by the University of Edinburgh where he conducted research in both music and architecture. Pedro has recently led participatory projects involving communities in Belfast, favelas in Maré, Rio de Janeiro, travelling communities in Portugal and a slum town in Mozambique. This work has resulted in sound art exhibitions at venues such as the Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, Centro Cultural Português Maputo, Espaço Ecco in Brasilia and Parque Lage and Museu da Maré in Rio, Museu Nacional Grão Vasco and MAC Nitéroi. His music has been presented in venues such as the Melbourne Recital Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Ars Electronica, Casa da Música, and in events such as Weimarer Frühjahrstage fur zeitgenössische Musik, Wien Modern Festival, Cynetart and Música Viva. His work as a pianist and improvisor has been released by Creative Source Recordings and he has collaborated with musicians such as Chris Brown, Mark Applebaum, Carlos Zingaro, Evan Parker and Pauline Oliveros as well as artists such as Suzanne Lacy. His writings reflect his approach to design and creative practice in a wider understanding of contemporary culture and emerging technologies. Pedro has been Visiting Professor at Stanford University (2007), senior visiting professor at UFRJ, Brazil (2014) and Collaborating Researcher at INEM-md Universidade Nova, Lisboa (2016). He has been Music Chair for international conferences such as ICMC 2008, SMC 2009, ISMIR 2012 and has been invited keynote speaker at ANPPOM 2017, ISEA 2017, CCMMR 2016 and EMS 2013. At Queen's University Belfast, he has held posts as Director of Education, Director of Research and Head of School. In 2012 he was appointed Professor of Sonic Arts at Queen's and awarded the Northern Bank's "Building Tomorrow's Belfast" prize. He has recently been awarded two major grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council including the interdisciplinary project “Sounding Conflict”, investigating relationships between sound, music and conflict situations. Ongoing research interests include immersive sound design and augmented listening experiences. Pedro has been appointed Director of the Sonic Arts Research Centre in 2021.

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