It is what every restaurant in the world, from the fanciest steak house to the dirtiest burger joint, aspires to: the perfect french fry. And we, in our humble little kitchen, hit the jackpot. The stars aligned. We are living the dream...
We did have a little help from our downstairs neighbors, who, when they deserted us for sunnier skies in Ireland (ha!) last week left us with a generous supply of cooking oils, vinegars and wines, including peanut oil. If I have retained one fact from watching the food genius who is Alton Brown, it is that peanut oil is the best oil to use for frying because it has a high smoking point, which means it doesn't burn at high temperatures.
Excellent frying oil? Check!
The next secret is the double-fry, which is actually what defines a French fry in the first place. The first longer fry actually cooks the potato. The second faster fry creates the nice crispy exterior.
- cut potatoes into fries
- blanche fries (put fries in hot water then cold water, allegedly this helps the final product get crispy without getting limp from all the frying)
- put fries in hot oil until they start to cook on the outside (i.e. until they just start changing colour)
- take fries out of the oil and let them cool for 10-15 minutes
- put the fries back in the hot oil until they turn golden brown
And ta-da! There you have it: fries that are soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.
Now, I have read some recipes that are more specific about different oil temperatures for the different frying phases, but we didn't really bother with that so much and the end result was still terrific. You just want to make sure your oil is staying hot after adding the cold potatoes (we aimed for a constant temperature of 350 degrees).
Mahi mahi marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped garlic, mustard, lemon juice and salt, then broiled
Served over cucumber and corn salad: corn, cucumber, white wine vinegar, mustard and dill
With a side of the Best. Fries. Ever.