Please oh Please! don’t serve me wimpy, wet, under cooked fries ever, or I will have a fit. Well, not literally, more like an internal fit. You know the kind?! It’s just not cool to make an amazing burger, or perfect strip steak, only to be proffered, disgracefully prepared French fries. Oh what agony it is for me. Okay, enough about me. The technique I will describe here, will most certainly give you perfect fries every time, if you follow my method.
Russet Potato (s)
Cooking Oil (Canola, Vegetable, Peanut, Blended)
Kosher Salt (Maldon Sea Salt Optional)
Large Pot or Wok
Sharp Chef Knife (LOL!)
Large Metal Mixing Bowl
Sheet Tray or Cookie Sheet
I know you’re thinking to your self, why on earth all of the equipment? Well, there isn’t much to cook here other than fries. So in the end, the gear is very essential to the prep. Before the first cut to the potato is made, be sure to wash your potato (s), first in cool or warm water. I use a small sponge with a tiny bit of soap and scrub my potatoes, as I leave the skins on. Oh yes! never peel them. There is such goodness and health benefits to the skins, so leaving them intact is a requirement not only for health, but also, for the flavor they impart to the fries. Slice off a thin layer from the rounded edge of the potato, not the flat side. Russet’s, have a flat side and or more rounded side as a rule – so finding it makes all the difference in the way the final product is cut. Now that you have your flat surface to lay your potato on, slice your potato into 3/8″ – 1/2″ slices. Include the outer slices too: don’t discard. Now cut your baton’s of potato, by keeping with the width of the slices: 3/8″-1/2″ baton’s. This way they’re all even. Also, makes for nicer presentation. Place the potatoes in a bowl under cold water, while running the tap to allow the starch to wash out. Once the water runs clear, you can drain them and place them on the kitchen towel and pat dry. I wrap them in the towel and allow the towel to soak up as much of the water as possible. At this point, get your pot or vessel ready for frying the potatoes.
Your first fry if using a measured temperature, should be somewhere in the 325 degree Fahrenheit range. I don’t measure as I am very familiar with my wok and method by now. Using a medium low flame bring the oil to cooking temp, by heating the pot or wok for about 10-14 minutes. Add your potatoes at once, or in batches. Cook for 8-9 minutes making sure that the potatoes do not get any color. (This first fry is called “Blanching”). What you are doing here is cooking the flesh (meat) of the potatoes interior and also, cooking out the water, while maintaining the colorless exterior.
A bit tricky at first but once you’ve done it enough times, you will get the hang of it. Now place the fries on the sheet tray, or cookie sheet and spread them out. Place the sheet tray into the freezer (Yes! the freezer). Keep the heat of the cooking vessel (wok, or pot) on low at this point to keep the oil from cooling. Freeze or chill the potatoes from 10-15 minutes ideally. Fifteen minutes better! Once you anticipate cooking your potatoes for the second fry, bring your oil up to temperature, by turning up the burner to get the oil temperature as close to 350-365 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now get your potatoes out of the freezer, and place them into the heated oil. If they are getting color to fast, reduce the heat. Fry them for about 4 minutes till they take on a golden-brown color. Have a metal mixing bowl ready (metal bowls are light weight), and your kosher salt (or Maldon’s). Remove the fries from the oil and place into the bowl: immediately coat the fries or as we say in the restaurant, hit them with salt to coat and season them. This is the best time to season as they are coated with the cooking fat (oil). Serve at once and enjoy! You will see that they are much crispier than your usual method of frying once and will not go limp on you, before you get them to your guest.