When my husband got me a deep fryer this past Christmas, my first thought was, “Oh no…this is going to be trouble.” But I’m actually really glad he got me one, because I’ve found that now that I’m able to make them at home, I can cook whatever amount I want, and I’m not spending $7 each time we go out to a fancy pants restaurant on “frites” just because I’m craving french fries. Just like Mark Bittman, I feel that fried food should be eaten at home if desired, because you actually have to go through the work to making it and aren’t picking it up from a drivethru (I would never eat fast food fries anyway…who KNOWS what is in those “fries.”) I’ve experimented quite a bit with french fries, and I’ve come up with a recipe that never fails to give me insanely crispy (and not greasy) french fries. The key is to fry them twice, the first time at a lower temperature to cook the interior of the potato, and the second time at a higher temperature to crisp up the edges. Here’s how to do it:
1.5 lbs russet potatoes
salt and pepper
old bay seasoning (optional)
vegetable oil for frying
Scrub the potatoes well, then julienne into matchsticks:
It doesn’t matter that they are all the perfect size, just close:
Heat up a deep fryer to 325 degrees F, and only cook a small batch at a time (I have a pretty big fryer, so I did half at a time). Fry for 5 minutes, then drain on a paper towel. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes. You will notice that they will have taken little color, if any at all, and if you taste one, the potato should be very tender:
Bump the heat up to 375 degrees F and cook the french fries for 3 minutes, until golden brown:
Drain on a paper towel, and while still hot, put them in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and old bay. Give it a nice toss to distribute the seasoning (we want the fries to be hot so the seasoning sticks).
Serve with ketchup or a nice aioli, or eat them plain. Enjoy!