I think that french fries are underappreciated. Sure, everyone eats them and enjoys them but do we ever really stop to think about the process of the french fry? I hadn't until I started working in a restaurant kitchen that prided itself on its fresh-cut fries. I quickly became acquainted with the long and painstaking evolution of the prefect fry. Hours of cutting, soaking, rinsing, re-rinsing, frying, cooling, and re-frying go into this classic burger accompaniment. French fries are not just fried potatoes.
Making the perfect fries is a learning process; it took Bobby Flay years to perfect his technique. Here are a few of his tips for mastering the art of the perfect fry from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes.
Russets or baking potatoes are the best, whereas waxy potatoes (such as Red Bliss or new potatoes) simply won't do. Soaking is key—this removes the starch, keeps the potatoes from sticking together, and eliminates the sugars that prevent the potatoes from achieving maximum crispness. As far as oils go, peanut oil is the best for deep frying. It has a high smoking point and a taste that is mild enough not to overpower the potatoey goodness of your fries. While countertop deep fryers are great you don't need one to make fantastic fries at home. A heavy-bottomed pot, a wire mesh strainer, a deep-fry thermometer, and a roll of paper towels are the only pieces of equipment you need for piles of golden brown, crisp and delicious fries at home.
- 5 large Russet potatoes, peeled or well scrubbed, if leaving leaving the skin on
- 1 quart peanut oil
- Kosher salt
Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick fries. Put the fries in a large bowl of cold water and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed medium stockpot over medium heat, or in a tabletop deep fryer, to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
Drain the fries well and pat dry in batches with paper towels. Fry each batch, turning frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the fries are a pale blond color and limp. Remove with a mesh skimmer to the baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Increase the heat of the oil to 375° F.
Fry the potatoes again, in batches, turning frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with the skimmer and drain on clean paper towels. Season immediately with salt and serve hot.