Fries: Thin Cut and Wedge Cut

In the past few months, french fries have joined my growing skills, and since I shared about hamburgers a few posts back, I thought fries would be a logical accompaniment for that post.

Recently, I came across a recipe for making thin fries like the kind you get at fast food restaurants. I had never considered making those at home, but America’s Test Kitchen included an easy method in their weekly newsletter. Basically, you dump your cut fries into cold oil, heat to boiling, then continue boiling for 25 minutes. Voila! Crispy thin fries. Gotta love the simplicity of the method.

The thin fries cook in 6 cups of peanut oil. I don’t stock peanut oil and was a bit hesitant to spend the money on it. Glad I did because it helps flavor the fries. And I took the leftover oil and saved it for the next time I make the fries.

The wedge cut fries take just a bit more effort but are still easy. I found this particular recipe after hubby requested thick-style fries one night, so I scoured the internet and came across a recipe by the America’s Test Kitchen folks again. This one is a bit odd because you microwave the wedges first to start the cooking process then finish by baking. However, the method ensures a fluffy interior and a crispy exterior.

Each recipe requires a different type of potato, and let me tell ya, it makes a difference. I’ve tried other potatoes and the effect results in disaster. Okay, “disaster” is an exaggeration, but trust the recipes. The Yukon golds for the thin fries have a lighter, delicate texture and flavor that works for the fries. The wedges use russets, which are hearty enough to withstand all the baking and create the fluffy yet firm interior.

If you asked me which recipe I prefer, I couldn’t give you an answer. I like both. Mostly, it depends on the mood we are in or what it’s accompanying. I can tell you that both make regular appearances in our dinner menus, though.

Thin Cut French Fries

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
  • 6 cups peanut oil
  • optional: 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Square off potato by cutting 1/4-inch-thick slice from each of its 4 long sides. Cut potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks. Stack 3-4 planks and cut into 1/4-inch batons. (The English teacher in  me just LOVES the imagery in the metaphorical terms “plank” and “batons”–very fitting for the product resulting from the cuts.)
  2. Combine potato batons, oil, and bacon fat (if using) in large Dutch oven.
  3. Cook over high heat until oil has reaching a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick (if not gentle, batons will break), and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5-10 minutes longer.
  5. Using slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer fries to plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  6. Season with salt and serve immediately.

SOURCE: cooksillustrated.com

Wedge Cut French Fries

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INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp. oil
  • 3 russet potatoes (about 8 oz. each), cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 475 degree F (my fries burned with rack on lowest position, so I move it up to the next position).
  2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl and microwave until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Transfer 5 tbsp. of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to a rimmed baking sheet, tilting the sheet to coat it with the oil.
  3. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3-6 minutes, shaking the bowl every 2 minutes to redistribute the potatoes.
  4. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.
  5. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, turning them once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30-40 minutes.

SOURCE: Pink Parsley Catering who got it from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen