Monday, March 15, 2010

Perfecting Fries

When it comes to important things like fries, you know the key basics in life, you need to nail down a recipe and keep up the good work your whole life.  Because everyone wants homemade fries at the drop of the hat.  So ditch the bright red Ore-Ida bags of frosted, flavorless fries, and make some of your own with this fool-proof recipe. 

The important thing to start is that you should use red-skinned potatoes.  No yukons.  No russets.  Trust America's Test Kitchen, my friends.  They do the leg work and we just have to listen.

Peel the potatoes (you need about 3) and cut them into 10-12 even pieces each.

Place in a large bowl and cover with hot water.  Let the potatoes soak for 10 minutes.  This takes the place of blanching.  Meanwhile, place a rack at the bottom of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees.

In a large rimmed baking sheet add 4 tablespoons vegetable oil.

Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly with a dish towel.

Sprinkle the oil with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

Place the potatoes cut-side down on the baking sheet and cover tightly with foil.  Bake with the foil on for 5 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until browned on the side facing the pan.  After 10 minutes, rotate the pan.  Use a metal spatula to scrape the fries off the bottom and bake again for 10-15 minutes until fully cooked and browned.  Rotate the pan again if fries are cooking unevenly.

Obviously I overcooked mine a bit, but they tasted better than you can imagine.  Because of the thick layer of oil on the bottom, the fries taste, well, like fries instead of oven-baked-potato-things.  Drain on a paper towel and dust with salt and pepper. 

I've never used an America's Test Kitchen recipe before, but this one sold me.  It has a lot of steps, but you know they are all for a reason since they treat their recipes like experiments.  Kind of reminds me of Alton Brown and all his in the oven cams and costumes.

So sit back, relax (as much as you can with all these specific steps) and be glad that America's Test Kitchen unlocked the secret to delicious fries made in your oven.

Oven Fries
From The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

3 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 10-12 even pieces
5 tablespoons of vegetalbe oil, divided
Salt and pepper

Place an oven rack at the lowest position and preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Cut potatoes and place them in a large bowl filled with hot tap water.  Allow the potatoes to soak for 10 minutes, then drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly.  Coat a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 tablespoons vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss dried potatoes with remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil and spread evenly in single layer in pan.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until browned on side touching pan (15-20 min), rotating pan after 10 minutes.  Use a metal spatula to scrape and loosen potatoes, flipping fries.  Bake another 10-15 minutes until browned, and rotate pan again if fries are cooking unevenly in oven.  Transfer fries to paper-towel lined plate and season with more salt and pepper.

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