Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Best French Fries Ever...Really!

A lot of people cite French Fries as one of the gustatory weaknesses. But until you taste these fabulous French Fries, you don't know how powerful a craving for fries can get. Like those served by Belgian street vendors (the "French" fry is actually Belgian in origin) are perfect -- crisp and flavorful with fluffy interiors.

The secret to these perfect fries? They're fried, once at a lower temperature, then again later at a higher temperature until crisp. Since the first frying can be done up to 4 hours ahead of time, these fries are even convenient to serve at parties -- the prep work is done ahead of time and all they need is a couple minutes in the fryer to crisp. Authentic old-style Belgian fries would be cooked in lard, but there's a limit to what I'll put my body through. I find vegetable oil does the job just fine.

These are so good, you may not need a dipping sauce. Of course kids and many purists love ketchup, but we prefer garlic mayonnaise (I'm not saying this is a health food dish). Mix mayo with minced garlic to taste -- 1-2 cloves usually suffices but garlic lovers and vampirephobics might want more.

4 medium to large russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide sticks
vegetable oil for frying
salt or seasoning salt

Pat potatoes dry with paper towels.

Heat vegetable oil in a deep fat fryer (or heat about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy, preferably cast iron, skillet). Use a deep fry thermometer and heat oil to 260°F. Working in batches so as not to crowd the potatoes, fry until tender, but not brown -- about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Remove potatoes to a wire rack or a paper towel lined plate to drain. Cool the potatoes completely before proceeding. You can prepare the fries to this point up to 4 hours before serving, keeping them at room temperature.

Just before serving, reheat the oil to 375°F. Add the precooked potatoes to the hot oil, again in batches to avoid crowding, and cook until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack or paper towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt or seasoning salt. Serve hot!

More on Potatoes
Check out our Potato Tutorial for important tips and information about buying, storing and using potatoes, plus tons of fabulous potato recipes.


Amanda said...

I've been looking for a good french fry recipe Cheri!

Cheri Sicard said...

This one is the best. I know you can make fries without the extra twice-fried step. But it really makes a difference.

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