A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 07, 2011
Potato Wedges

Potato wedges are large unpeeled wedges of potatoes cut lengthwise, baked or fried, and seasoned with salt, pepper and spices. The origin of potato wedges is not known, but the availability of commercial pressure fryers in the 1950s ("broaster" fryers were trademarked in 1954) made potato wedges easier to prepare. “Potato wedges” has been cited in print since at least 1955 and 1958.

Potato wedges have also been called “Jo Jo potatoes” since at least 1962. “Steak fries” are similar to potato wedges, but have th potato skins removed.

Wikipedia: Potato wedges
Potato wedges, also called jojos, are a variation of french fries. As its name suggests, they are large, often unpeeled wedges of potatoes that are either baked or fried.

They may be seasoned with salt, pepper and spices prior to cooking, to give a crispy flavored ‘skin’.

Potato wedges are popular snack foods in pubs and bars, typically served with condiments such as sour cream, sweet chilli sauce, brown sauce and ketchup. Other condiments that may be eaten with potato wedges include barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, ranch dressing and gravy. Potato wedges may also be served alongside roast meats. They are served at most KFC restaurants as an optional side dish.

In some regions of the United States, potato wedges are known as jojos. This term originated in Ohio and is also used in the Pacific Northwest, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas,and other areas. Jojos are potato wedges fried in the same vat as chicken and usually eaten plain alongside fried chicken, cole slaw, and baked beans. A variation in spelling and pronunciation is mojos, particularly in Western Canada, the Western United States and Canada’s Yukon. Shakey’s serves mojo’s as well.

In Germany, they are known as Kartoffelspalten or Wilde Kartoffeln (wild potatoes).

Wikipedia: Broasting
Broasting is a trademark applied to a method of cooking chicken and other foods using a pressure fryer and condiments. The technique was invented by L.A.M. Phelan in the early 1950s and is marketed by the Broaster Company of Beloit, Wisconsin, which Phelan founded.

Broasting equipment and ingredients are marketed only to food service and institutional customers, including supermarkets and fast food restaurants. They are not available to the general public. The method essentially combines pressure cooking with deep frying chicken that has been marinated and breaded. The resulting chicken is said to be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, i.e., like traditional fried chicken but less greasy. Another advantage of broasting over deep-frying is that large quantities of chicken can be prepared more quickly, 12–13 minutes instead of 20.

The company licenses the “broasted” trademark to more than 5,000 purchasers of its equipment who follow its specifications and recipes and undertake a periodic certification process. The arrangement is not a traditional franchise in that the licensee does not owe ongoing royalty payments.

Many modern fried chicken chains such as KFC use a comparable method but use different recipes or equipment from one of several alternate suppliers. These may be colloquially called “broasted” but the term is technically incorrect when applied to chicken that is not made under license. Other companies use more conventional deep fryers.

30 June 1955, Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram, pg. F16, cols. 7-8:
Potato Wedges Sure
to Be Hit on Menu

By Jane Carver
Most homemakers know how to fry, boil or bake potatoes. If you limit the use of potatoes to these ways of preparation, you and your family are missing something.

There are some long white potatoes now in the stores which are delicious when prepared with different recipes. They are tender, yet firm. One of the newest ways to fix these potatoes is in the form of Golden Wedges.

This tasty and different dish is made by slicing peeled potato in half, then cut each half into three or four long wedges. Dip these slices into melted butter or margarine and then into fine dry bread crumbs. Add salt and pepper as desired. Next, either bake or fry them. For baking, grease thoroughly a baking pan, line the potatoes in a row, barely touching, dot with butter and bake at 400 degree F. for 35 to 45 minutes or until done and a golden brown. If frying, place slices in pan of hot fat and fry until brown. They’re delicious with all kinds of barbecued meats, as well as plain roasts or chops.

8 November 1958, Portsmouth (OH) Times, pg. 7, col. 6 ad:
Baked Potato Wedges
(Turkey Shoppe Restaurant—ed.)

14 December 1961, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, sec. 5, pg. 2, col. 4:
Bake Potatoes
in “Boat” Style

Now that “Idahos” or “bakers” are back in markets after a summer’s absence, this is the time to enjoy them to the fullest. Quicker than Baked Potatoes and a real change are these Idaho potato boats. These taste like baked potatoes but the cut sides have a slightly crisped air-puffed crust. Of course you’ll eat the skin side too. For four generous servings, you’ll need: four large Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and dried and one or two tbsps. salad oil.

Cut unpeeled potatoes in fourths lengthwise. Place resulting wedges upright on baking sheet. Brush cut sides with oil. Put in a cold oven. Turn oven temperature to 450 degrees (very hot). Bake about 30 minutes or until browned and tender. Brush with melted butter, season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

For a richer crust and a quicker method, pour 1/4 cup salad oil into a large shallow-sided pan, toss potato wedges in oil to coat completely. They come out of the oven looking like giant French fries.

If you’d like to fit these potatoes into an oven meal such as one with meat loaf which takes an hour in a moderate oven, use the latter method of preparation. Bake at 350 degrees F. moderate oven for an hour or until tender and golden-brown.

10 August 1962, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Seattle Night and Day” by Paul B. Lowney, pg C11, col. 1:
Dino’s, an atmospheric Italian restaurant at 13744 Aurora, is serving an entree right out of history, It’s called “Chicken Vesuvio” and is said to have been the favorite dish of a famous Italian named Julius Caesar. It’s made by frying chicken and potato wedges in olive oil.

12 September 1963, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, “School Lunch Menu Ready,” pg. 30. col. 1:
Menu for next week in the Washoe County School District lunch program is as follows:
MONDAY: Hamburger on a bun with dill pickles, browned potato wedges, sliced tomatoes, apple crisp, milk.

Oregon Coast TODAY (September 25, 2009)
A fry with MoJo
We found that, at least in western Oregon, jo jos must be thick potato wedges, a) cut lengthwise, and b) covered with a light seasoned breading and c) served with ranch dressing or, if you must, ketchup. Jo jos are much bigger than French fries and usually bigger than steak fries, and unlike either, are cooked with their scrubbed skins on.

And, while some places sell jo jos that have been baked, deep fried or otherwise cooked, the best have been prepared in a pressure fryer. It’s a method that was popularized in the 1950s by the Broaster Company of Beloit, Wis. The company makes the official Broaster machine and patented marinade, as well as the rights to use the word “broasted,” which was trademarked in 1954.

But there are no licensed Broasters on the Oregon coast. What is commonly called “broasting” is still practiced, with pressure fryers made by a variety of companies, including Henny Penny. In these units, raw potatoes are submerged in hot cooking oil, which is then sealed with a pressure-lock lid, for 10 to 15 minutes.

According to most sources, the pressure keeps moisture in and oil on the surface, giving chicken, potatoes or any other food a crunchy exterior with less grease and fewer calories.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, January 07, 2011 • Permalink