A Spicy Perspective

Harissa Baked French Fries

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Zippy Harissa Baked French Fries made with Middle-Eastern Harissa. These spicy fries are a fabulous party snack and side dish!

Baked French Fries | ASpicyPerspective.com #fries #frenchfries #spicy

What do you know about potato farming?

If you’re like me, you might instantly jump to high school history lessons on the Irish Potato Blight, or think of Idaho. Right?

Potato Farming

Well I recently spent a day on a midwest potato farm and discovered there is much more to potato farming than meets the eye.

I *heart* potatoes

Last month I had the opportunity to tour Black Gold Farms.

Black Gold Farms was started over 85 years ago by Hali Halverson, a potato farmer in North Dakota. Black Gold Farms was named for the dark nutrient-rich soil of the Red River Valley.

Sommer CollierMe shooting potatoes on my iphone. Photo credit, Foodie Crush.

Over the years as Black Gold Farms expanded, the Halverson family discovered one way to be more efficient and earth-conscious was to stop trucking loads of potatoes across the USA.

They made it a goal to start new farms close to their largest buyers, and to find a way to grow potatoes in climates that were not normally thought of as potato-friendly.

Black Gold Potato FarmThis Black Gold Farm is in Arbyrd, MO.

Black Gold Farms now has 11 farms in 11 states, and has expanded to red, white, and yellow table-stock potatoes, sweet potatoes, fingerlings and “white chippers” for potato chips. Black Gold Farms grows the majority of the potatoes for Frito Lay potato chips.

Black Gold FarmsLeah and John Halverson

Hali’s great-grandchildren, John, Eric and Leah now own and operate the farm. Farmer John gave use a thorough lesson on the difference in “chipper” potatoes and table-stock potatoes.

John Halverson

Potatoes grown for chips are white thin-skinned potatoes that are harvested at the potato’s peek, so the skins chip off easily. This makes them easy for food companies to peel and use.

See? The skin just flicks right off…

Chipper Potato

Table stock potatoes, that you and I buy at the market, are left in the field a bit longer.

The plant above is “killed” and the potatoes are left in the ground so the skin can thicken and seal in the potato flesh for protective purposes. This gives the potatoes a better color and longer shelf life.

The process of “killing” potato plants before harvest has been around for hundreds of years. Since farmers used to (and still) store potatoes in their cellar all winter, they needed them to last.

Red Potatoes

Just look at the difference in the chipper and table-stock fields during harvest.

Black Gold Farms

When the potatoes are just right, a harvester drives through the field and digs up the potatoes. A truck drives next to the harvester, collecting the potatoes.

I got to drive the harvester.

Well… I got to RIDE in the harvester. That counts for something.

Potato Harvester

Once the potatoes are collected they are washed, checked for quality several times, and sent off for their final purpose.

The chipper potatoes go straight into another truck that heads to Frito Lay.

Chip Potatoes

The red potatoes, and other table stock varieties, are packaged in various ways.

Some are boxed for grocery bulk bins, some are bagged in Black Gold Farms wrappings, some are bagged with private labels, and some are put into cute little containers for specialty products, like this new “Better With Red” roasting package with McCormick seasonings.

Black Gold Packaging

The point is, as Black Gold Farms now produces over half a billion potatoes each year, you are probably eating them and don’t even know it!

Here’s a great video clip from Black Gold Farms called God Made a Farmer, narrated by Paul Harvey.

A few more Potato Fun Facts from Farmer John:

  • It takes 110 days to grow potatoes from seed to harvest.
  • Each potato plant can produce up to 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes.
  • Black Gold Potatoes are not Genetically Modified.
  • Black Gold rotates their fields each years to make sure the soil stays rich.

Black Gold TourIn the Pic: Meghan, Sandy, Ali, Heidi, Angie, Cathy, Me and Jesus.

I think our whole group earned a little bit of “Farm Cred” at Black Gold Farms!

Better with Reds TourPhoto Credit, Reluctant Entertainer.

This week I used red potatoes to make these easy and addictive Harissa Baked French Fries.

Did you know the texture of red potatoes makes incredible oven baked french fries?!

Harissa Baked French Fries | ASpicyPerspective.com #fries #frenchfries #spicy

Simply cut the potatoes and toss them in olive oil and harissa spice paste. Bake until crispy.

These spicy fries are absolutely Better with Reds!

Oven Baked French Fries | ASpicyPerspective.com #fries #frenchfries #spicy

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Harissa Baked French Fries

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Zippy Harissa Baked French Fries made with Middle-Eastern Harissa. These spicy fries are a fabulous party snack and side dish!
Servings: 6



  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line two rimmed baking sheets with foil. 
  • Leaving the peels on, cut the red potatoes into strips about 1/2 x 1/2 x 3-4 inches. (The more consistent the size is, the better the fries bake.) Place the fries on a baking sheet and top with oil and harissa. Toss and coat thoroughly. Spread the fries out over both baking sheets, so that none of them touch.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then gently flip and bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Serve warm.


For extra kick, add some harissa to your ketsup!


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 277kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 105mg, Potassium: 1390mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 45IU, Vitamin C: 26.6mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 2.3mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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Disclosure: I won a trip to visit Black Gold Farm, all expenses paid. This is an account of my experience, not a sponsored post.

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50 comments on “Harissa Baked French Fries”

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  5. What a fun trip! I love home made fries, I’ll be saving this recipe for sure :)

  6. I love potatoes, but the only thing I love more than potatoes is SPICY potatoes. Yum!

  7. How fun is this? And where in the world did you get that paper for your fries?

  8. a potato farm!! how fun is that!! I bet this recipe is fantastic!!

  9. French Fries are such a weakness for me – I love em! And homemade is the way to go. Can’t wait to try these!

  10. I looooove harissa with my fries. Usually I mix some harissa in with ketchup as a dippy. Next time, I’ll have to try tossing the fries directly in the harissa!

  11. Great post, Sommer! I have a new respect for where my potatoes come from.

    And these fries…well, you just can’t go wrong with harissa and golden fries!

  12. mm love these fries! We love red potatoes here so I know that we’d love these! I also loved your post about the trip! So glad that I got to be a part of that with you and all of the other great bloggers!

  13. Fabulous recap and photos, Sommer. The Halversons are a wonderfu family with a great history in potato farming. Your fries look AWESOME!!!

  14. Interesting seeing how the potatoes are harvested! Wish I could munch on some of those fries.

  15. Baked french fries are SO good!

  16. Love seeing you all together. My favorite group! :-) Thanks for sharing your experience with the potato growers and gosh darn it these fries are right up my alley. Anything with harissa and I’m a happy man.

  17. What an insightful post! A whole new dimension to the humble potato that I never thought of…and the French fries look so yummy!

  18. looks like a great trip! French fries are my weakness…..these look great!

  19. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us Sommer! I always love learning how foods are grown – there’s always so much care that goes into it and it makes me appreciate the food on our table that much more. Love your fries!

  20. These look absolutely delicious, Sommer! And harissa is such a wonderful compliment to crispy, robust taters like these. Love it!

  21. Great story! There was so much I really didn’t know.

    Fries w the skin are irresistible. I fool myself into thinking they’re healthy.
    So I can eat MORE!

  22. Oh what a fun trip & I must have these fries!!!

  23. These look so good, Sommer. Love the harissa!

  24. I heart potatoes and these fries!

  25. What a fun experience! I remember picking potatoes as a kid on my grandmother’s farm in Poland. It was hard work!

  26. I love this post! What a neat insight into potato farming! And the fries – AMAZING!!!

  27. I’m so grateful I found a local market with Middle Eastern spices…now I’ve got the goods on hand and can imagine how delish these are! Nice piece on potato farming; I love to see deeper into the lives of the folks who make sure we have food on the shelves at our local grocery; great admiration for them too.

  28. Love the harissa in these.

  29. I’m obsessed with Harissa!! These look awesome :)

  30. Love the storytelling, what a great farm. Glad to read they’re so innovative with farm placement.

  31. Such a fun post and these fries need to be actioned ASAP!

  32. I LOVE potatoes, and these baked fries look sensational! I have strangely never seen a potato plant before e today either!

  33. looks like so much fun! i want some french fries now!

  34. Great recap, Sommer! Loving this tasty tater recipe, too!

  35. Such a fabulous trip. We learned so much about potatoes and the farming! Great people. Love the recipe, too!

  36. What a fun trip, and awesome story behind the potato farmers. I love seeing the behind the scenes stories like this. The fries look divine. Must cook with harissa soon!

  37. Such a great roundup! Loved getting to spend time on this trip with you and earn our “farm cred”! ;)

    And these fries look AMAZING!!! Love harissa!

  38. Great post. Those baked fries look awesome.

  39. What a fun trip! I actually just made some harissa a while ago!

  40. I love growing potatoes, what a fun trip! The fries look superb!

  41. Love this tour! It’s always refreshing to see where our favorite foods come from : )

  42. I would be in heaven at a potato farm. Looks like you had a great time.

  43. Fabulous! I”m a sucker for fries.

  44. Loved that trip and hanging out with you!

  45. That trip sounds so fun and these fries? I am all over them!

  46. YUM!!! Hard to even tell that these fries are baked!

  47. These sound dreamy!! Love this recipe!

  48. What a great story – one not often told – and gorgeous fries, may I add….