Sunday, August 30, 2009

Easier French Fries

Who would have guessed there was something new to do with French fries? I always make mine the same way . . . peel cut and soak in cold water, dry and fry at a low temperature until just cooked, remove from oil, allow to cool and fry again at 350ยบ until crispy. That is until today.
While browsing through Cooks Illustrated's web site I found a recipe they call Easier French Fries. I'm not generally the kind of cook who makes the same thing over and over again until a recipe is perfected but this improved method was intriguing. CI suggested starting the cut potatoes (2 1/2 lbs) in just 6 cups of room temperature oil. Place potatoes in oil in a high sided pot, turn burner on high and allow to cook (oil will come to a rolling boil) for about 20 minutes without stirring. Potatoes will begin to cook but still be limp. After 20 minutes give a good stir and pry loose any that are stuck and cook (stirring occasionally) until crisp, another 5 - 1o minutes. Drain on paper bags or paper towels, salt generously and serve immediately.
"You could serve these at a party and people would go crazy," James said. He also claimed they were as good as the fries at his beloved Oinkster -- high praise, but also the kind of sweet suppertime lie that makes for happy cooks and longtime dinner companions.
Since we were having kebabs (beef marinated in lime, onion juice, garlic, yogurt and saffron) I made a quick garlic tahini sauce for dipping the fries (equal parts tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and water plus garlic and S&P to taste). Serve anything you want along side -- when these potatoes are on the table, it's all about the fries.

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