I had a craving for fries. Not the frozen kind, not oven-baked – the real deal. Frying stuff is such a pain, but every once in a while, if you’re willing to sacrifice an entire bottle of oil in one go, it’s deliciously rewarding.
I had never made fries before, so I spent some time looking up different methods. Perhaps the most important thing that I learned was that you need to fry them twice to get the perfect crispy/soft combination we all so love in fries. The first fry cooks the potato, the second turns in a nice golden brown and crisps it up. If it wasn’t such a spontaneous project, I would have made burgers to go along with them; but they were good on their own!
4 Medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and cut into 3/8″ fries
32 Ounces (ish) Oil (I used a canola/olive mix, 3:1)
Slice the potatoes and place them in a large bowl filled with ice water. Soak for 1 hour, discard water, and soak again until ready to fry. This helps to remove the starch and therefore reduces the chances that your fries will stick together. You can soak them for longer than one hour if you want to prepare them ahead of time.
Heat oil in a large sauce pan or stock pot. If you have a thermometer, heat to 325Âª. I didn’t have one and things worked just fine. If you’re like me, turn your range on a little below the “medium” mark. The oil shouldn’t be boiling or even bubbling, really.
Dry your fries on paper towels. Test the oil temp with one fry -it should boil up but not turn brown, even if it sits in the oil for a few miniues. Fry in batches. You want the fries to have room to swim, and you also don’t want to reduce the oil temperature too quickly by overwhelming the pot with cold potatoes.
Stir them a little to make sure they don’t stick, but soaking them should have prevented this. Be gentle, the more the cook, the softer the get, and the easier they are to break!
Fry for 4-6 minutes until the fries are opaque and softened, but not brown. Drain your batches on paper towels. When all the fries have been through the first cooking, turn up the heat to just over the medium mark (375Âº for you thermometer users out there). The oil will bubble a little. Again, test with a single fry. It should brown up now.
Working in batches, cook the fries until they are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. They are sort of delicate between the first and second fry, so be gentle when moving them. In my (single) experience, the fries looked a little crispier than they actually were, so give them a little more time than you feel like they need if you like crispy fries.
Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Salt them immediately, before the oil dries, or else the salt won’t stick. I served mine in a coffee mug.