Crispy, tasty french fries. You’ve tried to make them at home. You probably failed. Here’s why, and how to fix it.
Making french fries is more science than art. Improvisation and creativity (and sometimes, pulling $%^@ out of your @%$) can be great fun when cooking, but the science of fry-cookery is not the time or place for that. The ingredients are simple, but the technique has to be spot on.
I’ve simplified the process as much as humanly possible. It’s not difficult. Use a lot of oil – the restaurants do. Too little oil and it won’t retain the proper heat when you drop in the potatoes.
Don’t fry in large batches. A deep fryer is best to make sure the temp is exactly right and the fries drain properly. I use a Waring Pro (good for many other dishes as well).
And the real secret? Cooking the potatoes gently first (blanching), and then quickly again in hotter oil. This, more than anything, is what makes good fries good.
Follow this recipe exactly as instructed and you’ll end up with a plate of hot, crispy fries. Deviate from it and weep.
Adapted from Les Halles Cookbook.
- 1 large Idaho potato per person/serving
- 2 quarts or more peanut oil
- Deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot with oil thermometer
- Skimmer or basket
- Baking sheet
- Paper towels
- Fill a large bowl with ice water. Peel the potatoes (I love this peeler) and cut them into 1/2 inch thick sticks. Roughly peeled is fine., no need to get every shred of skin off. Place into ice water for at least 30 minutes, then rinse.
- Heat the oil to 280 f and cook the sticks in batches, about 6 to 8 minutes for each batch until translucent. Spread half-cooked sticks on a baking sheet (or suspend in basket, out of the oil) and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat oil to 375 f. Fry blanched sticks for 2-3 minutes each until floating, crispy and golden. Remove and place into bowl lined with a paper towel. Season with salt and remove towel.
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