|it's hot. let's fry some shit.|
Nothing says every day in the life of an American quite like fries. Except maybe exploiting poor people. But I don't have a recipe for that, other than to say if you find yourself in the proximity of a poor person, see what you can get out of him.
Why would you spend time & make a mess frying something at home that you can buy at nearly every sit down restaurant or bar & with processed reliability at every fast food chain, you ask*.
I don't have a good answer for that.
Maybe it's because I'm shallow & enjoy impressing people by making food they're accustomed only to ordering (see pizza). Yes, that sounds right. Certainly, that's it.
This is messy, can be time consuming & tests my contentious relationship with my mandolin slicer (the score is about 12-0, mandolin, but it hasn't robbed me on any fingers just yet). Beyond that, it really is a simple -- first try simple -- recipe that people will love the shit out of. Why? Because your friends are easily impressed & the results are on par with good fast food fries, which I absolutely mean as a compliment. I'm not gonna bullshit you & act like fast food fries aren't awesome.** This isn't a blog about lying.***
(use about a potato per person)
2 russet potatoes
salt & pepper
oil for frying (canola, peanut, shortening, etc)
Start prepping the potatoes. I slice the rounded parts off the potatoes long-wise (leaving the ends in tact), so that you have potatoes with 4 long, flat sides & 2 rounded ends. You can also peel the potatoes, but this method, while sacrificing some potato, yields uniform fries.
Slice the potatoes with a mandolin to 1/2" thickness, or whatever size you like, remembering that the potatoes will lose about 1/3-1/2 their girth (yeah) . You can use a knife, but the mandolin gives great consistency -- If you like rustic fries, leave the skins on, cut 'em with a knife & don't apologize for being so unrefined.
Soak the potatoes in ice water for about an hour. This draws some starch out & helps them crisp.
Drain the potatoes.
Heat oil (2 qt or so) to medium in a deep, large (8 qt or so) pot that can handle frying. Don't be an asshole and ruin a stock pot, thinking you can fry in it. When the oil is ready (lots of recipes say 350 degrees. I don't use a thermometer, I hold my hand over the oil until it feels hot enough that I can't leave my hand there too long). Drop all those soon-to-be fries in the hot oil.
After about 10 minutes, give them a stir ever so gently. They're tender, like they just got out of a relationship, & you don't want to break them.
Check in another 10 minutes. They're ready to come out when a few start lightly browning near the ends and/or on the edges. 20-25 minutes total
Pull the fries out of the oil ( I have an awesome little basket on a stick thing (pictured below) that works perfectly in this capacity). They will be limp and soggy and kinda gross. It's OK. Drain fries in a paper bag. Let them hang out for 5 minutes or so. The bag will reek gloriously of fries.
Dump the drained fries back into the oil & raise the heat to medium high. This will crisp them up. This takes about 5 minutes, but keep an eye out, because once they're cooked, they can burn quickly. They're ready when nearly all the fries are starting to brown. It won't kill you to test one either.
When they're ready, pull them out, drain them & salt them while they're hot.
*even most of the brands of frozen fries are pretty good.
**now if only I knew how to crinkle cut, waffle cut or do whatever the fuck you do to make... a tater tot (gasp). Have you ever noticed that all tater tots are exactly the same? I think it has to do with the potato Illuminati.
***if you do come across a blog about lying, don't believe anything you read there.