I love French fries. I like homestyle restaurant versions. I like greasy fast food versions. I like them with the skins on and with the skins off. I even like the bagged, frozen supermarket versions — yes, even the off-brands!
I like them so much that I don’t buy them. You see, if there is a bag of frozen French fries in the freezer, and if I have a working oven to cook them, I will eat them. All of them. In a very short time frame.
So I don’t buy them. (OK, in full honesty I do buy them, very, very occasionally. But only if we will eat them all at one meal!)
I do make French fries, though. Sometimes. And I do so love them. They take time and some effort, so I don’t make them too often. It’s a perfect balance.
And I’m going to show you how to make them, too. These are not just French fries, but guaranteedcrispy French fries. Yum!
Crispy Homemade French Fries
Potatoes (I like russet potatoes; about 1 small potato per person)
Frying oil (high smoke point oil like vegetable, canola, peanut…)
Seasonings (we are a salt and pepper family, but Cajun blend seasonings or “seasoned salt” is great, too)
Peel the potatoes (optional). Cut into slices about 1/4″ thick. I do this by cutting the potato lengthwise into 1/4″ thick slabs, then those slabs into 1/4″ thick strips.
Cover with generously salted water. Bring to a boil and cook briefly, about 2-3 minutes. The potatoes should be just fork tender, but not falling apart. Think potato salad, not mashed potatoes!
Meanwhile, set up a French fry draining station, using a cooling rack over a baking tray. One rack will be sufficient for 4-5 small potatoes. You may need multiple racks.
When the potatoes are justfork tender, drain them thoroughly, then spread them in a single layer on the cooling racks. Allow them to rest and dry out for a few minutes (a good time to preheat your cooking oil).
Heat about 1/2″ of oil in a heavy skillet. Cast iron really works best here, if you have it. Heat the oil until shimmering. Test the oil readiness by holding the end of a potato in it. The potato should immediately begin sizzling, like this:
When the oil is ready, carefully place potatoes into the oil, in a single layer. Adjust the burner setting so that the potatoes sizzle gently, like this:
Cook the potatoes until they are golden brown. The darker they get, the crunchier they will be. But also, the less fluffy they will be inside. So, it is a balance of perfect browning. Every couple of minutes, use tongs to gently “stir” the potatoes to ensure they don’t stick to the skillet or each other. Turn them a few times, also.
When they look about like this:
carefully remove them back onto the cooling rack. Immediately season to your liking, while the fries are still hot.
As they rest here, they will soften slightly. It is best to eat them as soon as possible.
But don’t burn your mouth! 😉
Tip: don’t toss out that oil! Allow it to cool completely. Using a small strainer over a funnel, pour it into a glass canning jar. It can be reused several times, so long as you are frying “bland” things in it.<<<<<<<<<<<