Thursday, July 1, 2010
What's so French about them? After all, the Mighty Potato is an American Native! Well, rumor has it, it was Thomas Jefferson who started the term French Fries because he had been fond of French dishes. So? They were called “french” because of the French practice of cutting vegetables into thin strips. Remember the French-cut beans?
Hot, crispy, quite irresistible, in their many guises, whatever the name, they are simply too good to be bad. And we all know how good it feels to be bad!
I learned this secret from a TV show on Food Network. Here are a few basic principles that render a perfectly charismatic fry!
Good, starchy ones, like Idaho, (aka russets). Peel them just before frying.
Clean, faintly nutty flavour of peanut oil, but any other vegetable oil would do.
3. The Knife
Use a sharp chef's knife shape peeled potatoes into blocks, then slice them lenghtwise. Cut the slices into fry-shaped pieces.
You can use a mandoline, or one of these (it does a neat job!):
4. The Soak
For crispier fries, soak the potatoes in cold water and refrigerate them for two hours.
5. The Blot
Before frying, dry potatoes thoroughly by blotting them with paper towels.
6. The First Plunge
Fries should be fried twice- once to cook, once to crisp. Make sure the oil is 325 F for he first fry. Do not bother about fryers and fancy equipment- a thermometer and a heavy pot is all you need.
7. The Cool Down
After the first fry, drain the potatoes on paper towels and let them cool down. You can refrigerate them for later finish.
8. The Second Plunge
Oil is at 375F at this stage. Fry till crisp- it won't take long, so make sure you watch them!
9. The results
Remove the fries from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve them immediately- they are best eaten HOT.