Who doesn't love a great french fry?
(Are communist jokes getting old? What's the new cool thing all the kids are saying? Maybe we should start subbing hipsters for communists? I mean, hipsters probably ARE too cool for fries, seeing as fries are so pedestrian, what with them being available to the masses and all.)
Regular fries are clearly not the healthiest choice, and regular roasted potatoes and oven fries just don't seem to cut it. Too crunchy, too soggy, strange texture, not that tasty? Friends, lament the lack of of quasi-healthy, delicious homecooked fries no more! Caitlin to the rescue! Actually, it's Cook's Illustrated to the rescue.
There is a recipe, but the key here is the technique.
First, you want to blanch your potatoes (after you cut them into the desired shape). This will help get the texture just right (say goodbye to gummy and starchy). You don't want them too soft -- the middle should still resist the tip of a knife -- as you need them to hold their shape for step two.
Which brings me to step two: After blanching, you'll drain them then toss them roughly with salt and olive oil.
In Cook's Illustrated's own words: "Parcooking was the key to our ideal crisp roasted potato recipe. Gently simmering sliced rounds drew starch and sugar to the surface. In the oven, the starch and sugar hardened into a crisp shell. Tossing the parcooked rounds with olive oil and salt created a rough surface, speeding evaporation and making the crusts even crispier. Yukon Golds had enough moisture to give us the creamy interior we wanted in our roasted potatoes recipe."
Here's the recipe. You can do it either in fry shape or roasted potato shape or sliced rounds or whatever you choose. Yukon Golds do seem to make for the best results here, but the good news is that they come in all shapes in sizes. We've used small baby yukon golds cut in half, or large yukons cut into fry shape. We have also used other kinds of potatoes, and we never pay much attention to the actual amount of salt, oil, and potatoes. As I said, it's the technique that's important (but the recipe is definitely a great place to get started).
Variations: add some mustard, vinegar, or fresh herbs like rosemary.
Sure, this is white potatoes and olive oil we're talking about so it's not exactly low fat diet food. But I personally believe that diet is a four letter word, olive oil is good for you, and potatoes are a whole food, so this isn't all bad. And they're so good. So so good.
Have you been struggling with oven fries? Have you tried this technique?