Friday, June 11, 2010

Pomme Frites, Papas Fritas, Fried Potato Awesomeness...


No matter what you call them, french fries rock.  And guess what, they're even better when you make them yourself.  Its super easy, and I'm going to show you how to make the perfect potato at home.
Last night, we had steak sandwiches for dinner (I'll discuss them in another post, promise) and I decided to make homemade french fries to round out the meal. I opted for homemade over store bought for two reasons.  First, Steven and I live in a teensy apartment that has a tiny freezer, so real estate in there is expensive and we buy only items that will be consumed quickly; in other words, we don't have space to give to a bag of fries that will be eaten slowly by the two of us.  Secondly, I embrace any opportunity to cook with fresh over processed ingredients!

With two potatoes, a peeler, large sharp knife, cutting board, and a dream I got started.  I peeled my potatoes, but you can leave the skin on if you like...just be sure to scrub, not rinse, the potatoes, remember they grow in the ground so they are dirty.  Also, cut out any green parts of the potato because they can make you sick, even after frying.  After peeling, I sliced the taters into ovals using a sharp knife, but this is a great job for a mandoline slicer to ensure even slices (in fact, I'm sure most of them have a french fry attachment!).


Once sliced into ovals, I cut them into the classic french fry shape that we all love.  Here's how I do it. I cut one of the ovals in half, and then stack the two halves and cut it into thirds.  This gets a pretty nice sized fry that is thin enough to cook quickly, but not wimpy either. 


In the meantime your oil should be preheating.  I used vegetable oil last night, but in the future I plan to try peanut oil for a Five Guys feel.  If using a fryer, set it to 375 and wait for the ready light to cue you to fry.  If you don't have a fryer, just grab a pot and fill it about half way with oil.  Using a pot is a bit more tricky unless you have a thermometer to tell you the temperature of the oil. One trick my grandma taught me was to take a wooden spoon and dip the handle into the pot.  If bubbles start forming around the wood, the oil is ready; if not stay patient.  Whether you're using a fryer or an old school pot, give your oil a chance to be hot otherwise you'll have greasy, raw fries on your hands.

After cutting the potatoes into french fries, I patted them dry before putting them into the fry basket.  Why? Because dry things crisp, wet things sog (yes, I just derived a verb from the adjective "soggy," don't judge).  I also was sure to fry in small batches. You'll notice that as they start to brown, they float to the top; this means they are almost done.  When they have a nice brown color, take them out and let them drain.  I use a cookie sheet with paper towels for this so that I can spread the fries out and salt them.

Okay, you think you're done, right? All of your batches of fries are cooked, drained, and salted?  Guess what, gather them all up and dump them in the fryer one more time, yes re-fry them.  This makes them super crisp! Then, add a sprinkle of kosher salt on them while they are still hot.  Now, they are ready to be eaten.

Here was the end product:


Being a southern girl, I enjoyed these with a bit of malt vinegar; Steven prefers ketchup.  Regardless of what you dip them in, these fries are super yummy and free of any weird preservatives that are usually in frozen fries.  So see, french fries are easy to make! Plus, think of all the space you can save in your freezer by keeping a few potatoes on hand!

9 comments:

  1. The one food I could eat almost everyday...french fries! Especially yummy ones like yours. I have yet to make homemade fries, but I may have to give it a try. I try to eat healthy as much as possible, but you have to indulge every once in awhile. Great blog!

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  2. Hi Monet, thanks! Don't be afraid to fry (we southerners are born to fry), its super easy...the key is hot oil and small batches to get a good crisp. When you give it a try let me know how it turns out :)

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  3. We don't have a fryolator, but we will indulge in the occasional pommes frites using the cast iron French oven and follow the Les Halles NYC instructions, which are pretty foolproof, and to be honest, it has you soaking the potatoes for a half hour or so to get rid if the starch and the frites are pretty fabulous.

    I'm totally with you on the malt vinegar (fried food is much better with malt vinegar!), but I will also say that a homemade aioli also goes well with homemade frites. :-)

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  4. Elizabeth, totally didn't know about the soaking to rid the potato of starch...I'll keep that in mind next time. I have heard about freezing them for a day, but I don't have the patience for that.

    I've never made an aioli...just eaten them! but I'll have to keep this in mind as well and maybe give it a go!

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