It’s National French Fry Day!
You love french fries, right? Just close your eyes and imagine them. Perfectly crisp outside. Tender and light inside. That crunch when you bite into them — no soggy wannabes. For most of us the siren call of a side of fries is almost too magnetic to ignore.
And for most of us – we get our fries when we’re eating out. Not at home. Never at home. Why? Hello??? – they’re a
pain in the ass, um, too much trouble to make. Until now. Seriously.
The traditional method — requires frying not once, but twice. The first time cooks the inside, the second crisps the outside. P.I.T.A. No more. I heard about this new technique on NPR. I’m sure you’ve heard Christopher Kimball and his culinary gurus broadcast America’s Test Kitchen answering questions and offering tips to home cooks.
You’ve been making french fries the wrong way!
This episode was revelatory to me — because they suggested that frying only once with very little hands-on effort would result in magically crisp-tender fries — and use about 1/3 less oil. Whaaat??? Easier and healthier?
It was all too much to believe, so I did the only thing I could. I tried it. The secret to these fries is to place the rinsed and dried potatoes directly into COLD oil. As the oil heats to the normal frying temperature, it gradually cooks the inside of the potato, so that by the time the oil is bubbling, the inside is cooked – and it goes right into the crisping phase. All by itself. No help from me. AND the potato doesn’t soak up as much oil. Really.
To confirm that, I fried the potatoes, let the oil cool and then poured the oil back into the original container. It filled back up nearly to the top. Maybe a quarter cup was actually absorbed in the whole batch. Incredible.
And look at the result. Perfectly browned, not greasy, crispy, gorgeous fries. A sprinkle of sea salt while they’re still hot is all they need. And maybe some ketchup. I love ketchup.
You'll never make french fries any other way!
- 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 32 ounces peanut oil for frying
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water. Set aside. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice the potatoes into thin fries (about 1/3"-1/2" thick). Transfer the cut potatoes to the cold water. Swish the potatoes in the water with you hand and drain the water from the potatoes. Refill the bowl with cold water and rinse again. Use paper towels to pat dry the potatoes.
Add the oil to a medium dutch oven. Put the potatoes into the cold oil. Place the oven on the stove and turn the heat to medium-medium high. The oil will bubble briskly once it comes to temperature. Cook the potatoes for 25-30 minutes until crisp outside and tender inside, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
Use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the fries and transfer them to the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle the fries with salt. Serve.