Catalina Cooking: It’s all about the fries

The burger better be slamming as well after these fries. Courtesy photo

It’s all about the fries

What’s a burger without great fries? Nowadays burgers are vegetarian, turkey, chicken and buffalo among others. Yes I know there’s ostrich, wild boar, wild deer and more – go ahead and write me for other suggestions. The key is the fries hands down. I am an eat the fries first and then move casually onto the burger thing kind of guy. After that I enjoy the Napa slaw. My friend Konrad was a lawyer for this wine company, this that and the other and at some point he was sent to McDonald’s burger school to learn from the best. “Butter the bun and toast it, first the sauce, then the salad, after that the meat and cheese at which time you put the mustard and pickle and the top bun”. I followed this formula with the girls pool parties growing up. I get a paper plate and write on the top of each girl’s plate what she wants. NB no bun, K ketchup, M mustard D dijon etc. You can figure it out. Great when they were smaller. As they grew and the parties grew, I put the condiments and whatnot on the side. I kept the V veggie, T turkey and B beef on the plate with NB for no bun. With their names. Makes it easy. The fries you ask … Turn the oven on to 350.

• First of all, take some russet potatoes and prick them with a fork.

• A cup of good olive oil is good for 6 potatoes and 1 large potato for sure each

• Sea salt

• Black pepper

• Minced rosemary

• Minced shallots 4

• Bit of sherry vinegar.

• 1 Cup catsup

• 1 cup ground course black pepper. (Adjust to your personal tastes(

• 1 head of Napa cabbage sliced thin

• 2 bunches sliced scallions

• 1 bell pepper julienne no seeds

• 3 serrano minced

• 1 T fresh minced ginger

• 1/2 cup of good mayonnaise

• 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce

• Soy sauce to taste

• 4 more minced shallots

• Toasted sesame seeds.

Bake your potatoes in the oven for about 35-45 minutes. We do not want them like the perfect baked potato but more of a firm baked potato. Pierce with a fork from time to time to make sure they are tender but not too tender. Leave them to cool and dry out.

Do not cover. We are not looking for humidity in the potatoes. Once cooled, get a large frying pan, skillet or whatever you call it and put about 1/4 cup of the olive oil and heat over medium.

Wedge, slice, quarter or anything you want to do for your presentation. Any way will work out great. Fry them in the olive oil until crisp and golden brown on each side. Place on paper towels in a warm oven until all are finished adding more oil when needed. Toss in stainless bowl with salt, pepper and a spritz of the sherry vinegar and shallots. Meanwhile the grill should be hot, the condiments all ready and the salad medley all lined up ready for destruction. With all this tuna being caught all over why not grill medium rare tuna steaks with dijon and black pepper. Add a few slices of avocado, some sweet onion and a ripe sweet tomato. Oh the catsup add black pepper… a lot of black pepper…mix it together and see how amazing the fries are dipped in the quick easy spicy dip.

For the Napa slaw, mix in a stainless bowl the mayo, Thai chili, scallions, ginger and shallots. Add about 2 T soy and mix and see if the flavor is balanced. Toss in the Napa, peppers and scallions and taste. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Don’t forget to make everyone’s burger how they like them. MR medium rare R rare etc. Now people order a bit over medium rare or a bit over rare etc. The story is that the steakhouses loose money on overcooked steaks. Easy to cook a steak longer than reverse the cooking. Go figure.

Capt. Vaughn Allen was a private chef and butler for the ultra rich and famous most of his life. Vaughn was recently called out of retirement to cook the intimate celebration dinner for Sir Ringo Starr and his close friends. Vaughn is a businessman, scuba instructor and most recently a yacht broker in Redondo Beach. You can contact him at


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