Test Kitchen's Easier French Fries

  • Currently 4/5
"Oven-frying is the usual "quick" method, but we wanted real french fries. We started with an unorthodox procedure of starting the cut potatoes in a few cups of cold oil. To our surprise, the fries were pretty good, if a little dry. Because russets are fairly dry potatoes, we wondered if a different type of potato would work better. Sure enough, Yukon Golds, which have more water and less starch, came out creamy and smooth inside and crisp outside. A bonus was their thin skin-we could save time by not having to peel the potatoes. We were almost there, but the fries tended to stick to the bottom of the pot and they also tended to clump. Stirring seemed like the obvious solution, but this tended to break the potatoes. After some experimentation, we found that leaving the fries undisturbed for 15 minutes, then stirring them, kept them from sticking and from breaking apart. Thinner batons were also less likely to stick. These fries had all the qualities of classic french fries, without all the bother."
America's Test Kitchen
Serves 3 to 4
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed, dried, sides squared off, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch batons
6 cups peanut oil
1/4 cup bacon fat , strained (optional)
Kosher salt
1. Combine potatoes, oil, and bacon fat (if using) in large Dutch oven. Cook over high heat until oil has reached rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 15 minutes.
NOTE:     It is important to not stir for the 15 minutes, if you stir before then, the potatoes will break apart.
2. Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels. Season with salt and serve immediately.
Serve with dipping sauces , if desired.
America's Test Kitchen:
"Flavoring the oil with bacon fat (optional) gives the fries a mild meaty flavor. We prefer peanut oil for frying, but vegetable or canola oil can be substituted. This recipe will not work with sweet potatoes or russets.  See "Cutting Potatoes for French Fries," below, for help on cutting even batons."

Cutting Potatoes for French Fries                                          
1. Square off potato by cutting a 1/4-inch-thick slice from each of its 4 long sides.
2. Cut potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks.
3. Stack 3 to 4 planks and cut into 1/4-inch batons. Repeat with remaining planks.

Doris Clark

Member since Jun 2007

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