Mike, Julie & Willem Day 6: A new way to make French fries.
Of course we ate more than just fries today, but this was the meal most worth reporting. I haven’t been too creative today – I’ve got more deadlines than usual, and am stretching myself as thin as my food hamper. (Thinner, even – we aren’t at risk of running out of food anytime soon. We are running short on options, though. Tomorrow – more plantains!)
But check this out – yesterday I followed a trail of bread crumbs (fry grease?) to an old Cooks Illustrated post about French fries (this is what happens when I’m supposed to be working) – it seems they burned through about 50 lbs of potatoes to come up with this method, wherein cold potato is set in cold oil in a pot and then brought to a boil together, much like you’d do when boiling potatoes (in water). The crazy part is – there’s apparently less oil in these cold-start fries than in traditional ones. I don’t understand why, but I never did that well in science. And I ditched chemistry for bio.
I’ve been dying to get in the kitchen and try something new, which has been difficult with the dwindling hamper on our dining room table. But I have potatoes! I have oil! I have salt! Giddy-up.
With fries like this, you need a good wobbly homemade mayo. And hey! I have eggs! I have oil! It’s clearly a sign.
So – you can go to see the original recipe at Cooks Illustrated, but it does seem a little wordier than I think it needs to be. (Not suggesting I know more than Cooks Illustrated, of course. But I did streamline it a little.) I didn’t measure my oil, nor my potatoes. I didn’t use bacon fat (although that does seem worth a try, don’t you think?). I cut two potatoes (unpeeled) into even sticks and put them in a pot, and covered them with canola oil. I did as I was told and covered the pot to bring it to a boil, which did indeed take about 5 minutes, but then I took the lid off (there’s condensation there – you don’t want that in your oil) and let it bubble away. It was odd, like I was boiling potatoes, only with oil. I didn’t wait to give them a stir though-I did so at about 10 minutes. Not sure what the difference is.
Anyway, in about 20 minutes they were beautiful and golden, and I took them out to drain on paper towels and showered them with salt. They had a lovely texture.
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