Friday, December 13, 2013

The Secret to Perfect Pommes Frites

This edition of French Food Fight Friday features Frites. (Challenge to readers: come up with another sentence with that kind of alliteration!) By "frites,' of course, we mean pommes frites -- French fried potatoes.

Homemade pommes frites are almost always a disaster -- soggy, greasy potatoes that are either undercooked or burned -- but in fact you can make frites at home that are the equal of those you'd get in a Parisian brasserie. The secret is to start them in cold -- that's right, cold -- oil  (peanut oil works best). You'd think that putting potatoes in cold oil would result in greasy fries, but, in fact, tests conducted by Cook's Illustrated proved that potatoes started in cold oil absorb less oil than than dunked in hot. So these fries come out crisp, with very little oil.

The other essential techniques: use Idaho baking potatoes and soak them in several changes of water first. As for the dealing with the oil, I keep a small dutch oven filled with peanut oil in the back of my refrigerator. You can reuse it quite a few times, straining and/or topping off when necessary. Now, let's faire des frites!

Pommes Frites for Deux

2 Idaho baking potatoes
1 quart or so of peanut oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise and a squirt of lemon juice for dipping
  1. Peel potatoes and slice into thin (about 1/4-inch) fries. A mandoline is great for this, if you have one.
  2. Soak in cold water for up to an hour, for but at least 20 minutes, changing the water once.
  3. Dry potatoes thoroughly, starting with a run through a salad spinner if you have one.
  4. Fill a tall saucepan or small dutch oven about 3/4 full with peanut oil.
  5. Add potatoes and turn to high heat. Do not stir the potatoes until the oil really gets going and the potatoes start to change color. This will take up to 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, squeeze a little lemon juice in the mayonnaise so that you can eat these in the French style.
  7. Occasionally stir as potatoes continue to cook. Watch carefully, as they go from pale to brown in no time at all. Remove to paper towels with slotted spoon and add salt when they are golden brown. Eat immediately.

1 comment:

  1. This is great food and this is my favorite food.I like it so much.


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