Thursday, October 6, 2011

When life gives you potatoes....

make pommes frites!  Duh. That's Freedom Fries to you, silly americains.  Remember that whole situation?  When the House cafeteria replaced "freedom" for "French" on their fries and toast.  I was living in France at the time and one of the downsides (aside from living with a host mother who, in addition to being crazy, fed me frozen fish and imitation crab meat while my friends sampled homemade baeckeoffe and choucroute and flammekeuche and all sorts of Alsatian delicacies with their host families) was actually having multiple serious conversations with the French on the freedom vs. french debacle.  (And if you're looking to try any Alsatian delicacies in Boston, check out Sandrine's, an Alsatian restaurant in Harvard Square). On top of that, being American made me seemingly irresistible to people wanting to discuss Monsieur Booosh and his politics, often in bars.  (#1 on my list of intense dislikes: talking politics when drinking. I know it's tempting, but just. don't). When I got back to the States (yes, you can call it that when you've been abroad or are talking to someone who's also been abroad and yes sometimes I know it sounds pretentious but sorry I can't help it) I got a huge kick out of how my fellow Americans handled the situation, chanting U-S-A at every possible opportunity.   

Anyways, where were we? Right, french fries. (One more thing- do you realize that it was three years before the House cafeteria served french fries again? Ouch, America).

That aside, it's a pretty well-known fact that french fries, which were actually invented in Belgium, are one of the most delicious snacks in all of snackdom. However, short of buying a deep fryer, it can be tricky to recreate delicious fries at home.  Especially healthy ones.  Tipsy Turvy to the rescue!   

Homemade Baked French Fries
(serves 4)
5 large russet potatoes (russet potatoes have the perfect consistency for fries), well scrubbed
2T olive oil
1 1/2t sea salt (I prefer the taste of this to standard table salt)
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Note: this is a basic recipe for fries.  If you're feeling extra fancy, additional flavor options include:
  • 1t chopped rosemary
  • 1t Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning 
  • or top with finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Your first step is to cut the potatoes into 1/2" strips.  (If you like them thicker or thinner, cut to your preference).  Do you notice the thick, slippery coating left on your cutting board?  That's starch. Next, you'll put the uncooked fries in a bowl and cover them in cold water. This process helps eliminate starch, sugar, and helps your fries achieve that crispy on the outside, soft on the inside perfection 
Cut fries taking a bath
Put the bowl of potatoes/water in the fridge and let sit for at least an hour (and up to 8, though I never plan far enough in advance to need that much time). Take fries out of the fridge, drain the water, rinse and pat dry. (If you're short on time, here's a quick version of this step: boil a pot of water and add the fries. Cook for 10 minutes, drain, rinse and pat dry, then continue to the next step). In a bowl, toss the taters with the olive oil, salt and pepper and put on a baking sheet in a single layer, like so:

Almost there
You've already preheated the oven to 400, so pop the fries in for 25 minutes.  Cooking time will vary based on your oven- ours is kind of all over the place. At 25 minutes, take the fries out and turn them over with a spatula to get them crispy on both sides.  Put fries back in the oven and cook for 10 extra minutes (until crispy but not burnt). Et voila!

Excuse the poor lighting- our kitchen is beyond dark!
Serve and enjoy, preferably with a homemade burger. Yum!

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


Kristyn said...

What a great recipe! Great tip to soak the potatoes beforehand.

I modified the recipe slightly and used red potatoes. I battered the fries before baking using a little bit of flour and water along with garlic, salt and rosemary - delicious!

Caroline said...

Hey Kristyn! So glad these turned out for you. I'll have to try the battering idea- sounds tasty!