Monday, October 22, 2007

If At First You Don't Succeed, Fry, Fry Again

Here's the thing about me: I love fries.

Short ones, long ones, shoestring ones, curly ones, sweet potato ones, waffle style ones...i could eat fries as a main course more often that I would like to admit.

The thing is, for a relatively simple meal (It's really just potatoes, salt and pepper), I find it incredibly easy to mess up in the kitchen. Either they come burnt to a crisp, or too soggy, or cooked on the outside and raw in the middle. I have never achieved the Perfect Fry.

Until Saturday night.

With an evening of sports watching ahead of us (pre-season Celtics for me, Baseball for Adam), I decided the perfect meal would be that ol' French staple: Steak Frites. The French really have it down with this one because if there are two better staples than Steak and Fries to have on hand for sports-watching, I don't know what it is.

I had initially planned to buy some Flank Steak, use a lemon, pepper and parsley marinade and slice it thin on a bias after grilling. BUT Porterhouse steaks were on sale at the market and how can you pass that up? So with that, and about a pound of yukon gold potatoes, I was ready to go.

While researching online for the perfect fry recipe, I learned some things about my past mistakes. For instance, soggy fries happen when you cover fries that have already come out of the oven. The steam gets trapped and the fries become laden down with moisture. Gross!!

I also learned that double frying them is really the only way to go. And I like this method because if you are having guest you can fry them for the first time hours in advance and just let them sit at room temperature until the second fry time.

So get your stuff together:

1 lb Yukon gold potatoes
sat + pepper
1 small bottle of veggie oil (about 20 oz)

Pour all the oil into a deep pot. Heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

While the oil is heating, peel your potatoes. Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for about 3-4 minutes (this will gets some of the starch off them and make them more likely to crisp up). Drain, Dry and slice into fry-size. You want them to be pretty uniform in size, about 1/2 inch wide and a few inches 2-3 inches long. Drain on paper towels, patting to dry.

Once oil is hot, add the fries in small batches and cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Having a long handled ladle like this is ESSENTIAL for making fries. If you don't have one, I highly recommend getting one. They are great not just for fries but if you are making tempura, fritters...anything that neccesitates pulling food stuffs out of boiling oi. ( Like this one from Amazon, for around $9!)

As each batch comes out of the oil, lay in on a platter lined with paper towels to drain (or paper bags, if you have some around). They will be firm, and a slightly more golden version of what they looked like when they went into the oil

Now at this point you can walk away from them for a few hours if you aren't eating until later (although remember to turn off the oil!). If you are ready to finish the fries, let the oil get hot again for about five minutes and just fry again in small batches for 2-3 minutes each until golden brown. This is the crucial step towards getting perfectly done fries!

Look at those! Perfection!!Crispy but not TOO crispy! A little brown but not burned!

I plated mine and put them in an oven that had been heated to 150 and then turned off, to keep them warm without wilting them.

And then of course I got to the steaks

hello lovers!

And to top off this great meal: the Red Sox won (and the Celtics lost may have lost but it's only a pre-season game and Paul Pierce wasn't playing so whatevs, right?)


Caitlin said...

Sarah this looks so yummy!
My boyfriend is a chef and we were having this conversation recently. He said that parboiling them first then frying them also ensures that they're cooked and come out perfecty.
The boiling probably also helps do the same thing as soaking them in the water (de-starching a bit).
PS - You TOTALLY got me hooked on The Pioneer Woman!!!

C'tina said...

WoW THAT looks like a great meal....I LOVE me some London Pub Malt Vinegar on my fries....

Jenny said...

Fries are my kryptonite. I LOVE them and have been meaning to make them recently. Perhaps I'll have to try this.