You're at the beach. Down the shore, to be exact. You're 7, and life is good because you've been playing in the surf for hours! Digging for sand crabs, making drippy sand castles, and jumping over baby waves until you're out of breath and your throat burns with salt.
Your skin is hot and salty, your hair is wild. You have a massive wad of sand in the lining of your bathing suit bottom, and you sure as heck don't care. Although...how DOES that manage to get in there, you wonder? One of 7-year-old life's great mysteries.
And you're hungry! (You're always hungry.)
Moooooooooooooooomm!!! K' I'va snack? What can I eat? Nooo...I don't WANT grapes!
I forgot to mention you're also a bit of a bratty-pants.
And as you make your way up to the boardwalk for a snack, it hits you. That smell! That warm aroma of fried potatoes, salt, and malt vinegar hits your 7-year-old stomach-brain with the same force and influence as the sound of the ice cream truck and the site of the Chuck E. Cheese logo.
Good thing you're with Dad! It's not your fault you're his first-born child and you're too sweet a face to say no to, right? And he can't resist either. Grapes? Come on.
Actually. It's more like your sand wad is seriously embarrassing him, and he'll do anything it takes to avoid your melt-down.
Picture this. It's 24 years later, and you're in need of a funky grilled potato side dish to complement some smoky salmon with homemade barbecue sauce. And then it hits you, again. Those fries you love! You're reminded of Thrasher's hot, vinegar-y potatoes, and every happy and carefree beach memory you've ever had comes to the surface.
And then you check for sand wads. All clear.
I like to recreate happiness as much as the next person, so this recipe is just that. Pure summertime happiness with a fraction of the grease and thigh guilt.
Thin-sliced potatoes are boiled and cooled in tangy vinegar, salted and peppered, and grilled until crisp. Serve these babies to your family as a real-life, grown-up side dish, and you'll be as big a hero as my Dad on the boardwalk that day when he made all my snack dreams come true.
And don't worry, Mom, mid-day vinegar fries did not, in fact, hinder my ability to eat 3 slices of Grotto Pizza for dinner, ride the Sea Dragon four times, and spend all your dollars playing Frog Bog and Goblet Toss.
Salt and Vinegar Grilled Potatoes
Adapted from Dana Treat
Yields 4 servings
1 lb potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 c white vinegar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
In a medium sauce pan, add the potato slices and vinegar. The vinegar should cover your potatoes. If not, add more vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until just fork tender, about 5 minutes. Let the potatoes cool in the vinegar for 40 minutes. Drain well, and gently toss with the oil, salt, and pepper.