Maybe I am jumping to conclusions, but I bet you have never made french fries at home. Sure, maybe you have thought about it but were scared off by the vats of oil, lingering odors and less than desirable caloric content. I also have a hunch you have flirted with oven fries, and were always left disappointed. (Except for these, of course. These are the exception to that rule.) But that little voice still whispered softly in your ear; you still wanted them.
Fear not, dear reader — I have come across a recipe for real french fries that you can make at home. Joel Robuchon wrote about technique, the New York Times picked it up and I found it on my television while watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. Today, I feel it is my duty to pass it along to you. In full disclosure, it does require a shocking amount of oil, but throw in two and a half pounds and that’s the entire recipe. Really. They are french fries, after all. Chopping the potatoes into neat little quarter-inch batons was the extent of the effort required to yield homemade french fries.
Nearly all recipes for french fries require a two-step cooking process — an initial boil to cook the inside of the potatoes, then a second fry to crisp up the outside. The appeal of this recipe is that it requires just one dip into the oil bath, and the potatoes stay there until they are finished (no deep fry thermometer required). Cold peanut oil and cold potatoes are put into a large dutch oven at the same time, brought to a boil and then left (almost) untouched until they are done. It is pasta making kind of easy. There is little danger of the oil splattering all over the kitchen and little to no fussing over the pot. So now, there really is no excuse. Homemade french fries can be yours tonight.
easier french fries
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
yields 4 generous servings
2-1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes
6c peanut oil, room temperature
1/4c bacon fat (optional)
Square each potato, then cut into quarter inch pieces/batons (no need to peel). Put potatoes into the pot, then pour in peanut oil and bacon fat, if using. Bring up to a full, rolling boil. When at a boil, set timer 15 minutes. Do not touch or stir. After 15 minutes, stir gently with a pair of tongs and scrape of fries that stick to the bottom. Cook 5-10 additional minutes until most of the fries are turning golden brown around the edges. Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while still warm.