I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like Fries. If I ever do, I’m not sure I’d ever trust them. ‘Factory fries’ used by many, have brought perfect or near perfect fries to the masses. What I offer here are the secrets behind making your own perfect fries using your own sourced local potatoes. There’s something nice about enjoying potatoes from a farm you know.
So check out this recipe, it’s a culmination of a few tips, tricks and secrets I use at the restaurant to get perfect or near perfect fries every time. It’s worth mentioning that this recipe does take two to three days to prep. So if you want delicious, golden Frites tomorrow, get cutting today! I promise this recipe is worth the long lead time.
A note on ingredients:
- Use the best Potatoes you can find. Saying that, use whatever potatoes you like. Most potatoes, are divided into two types, starchy or waxy. Ideally, you want a starchy potato. Starchy potatoes will give you tender, flaky, crispy fries. Ironically, you’ll need to remove all the starch in order to do this(more on this later). I’ve had great results with Kennebec Potatoes from Quebec, Ontario Yukon Golds and Whites. If you want to go even one step further, the guys at ChefSteps have come up with a way of ‘Finding the Perfect French Fry Potatoes‘.
- Are your potatoes fresh? Great local potatoes are available well into the winter. Once cured (a two week process, that helps heal nicks, cuts and bruises), they can last for up to 3 months if stored at 40-45F. If kept refrigerated below 40F, they will take on a sugary taste(more on this later).
- Fat, Oil or Grease. You can fry potatoes in any of these. Choose something with a high smoke point. Great flavourful options are Peanut Oil, clarified Duck Fat, Canola or Vegetable Oil. Each will give a unique flavour to your fries.
- Salt. Fries are a great chance to break out that special salt you’ve been saving, or pickup a new one. Look for Volcanic Black Salt, Australian Murray River Pink Salt or even Smoked Salt. You’ll want something with a nice taste, Sea Salt or Kosher will do, but try and avoid Iodized Table Salt.
A note on Equipment:
- I would recommend using a deep frier to make french fries. Ultimately, using a fryer is just much, much safer. There’s no need for a thermometer and it takes out all the guesswork. However, you can use a heavy bottomed pot and high temperature thermometer. Don’t forget, you’re fries will displace the oil and there won’t be a ‘max fill’ mark on your pot. Fill the pot no more than one third full.
- At the restaurant, we use a fry cutter. It’s not essential but highly recommended. Cutting the potatoes by hand just isn’t practical at high volumes. Also, a fry cutter will give you uniform fries, which will cook evenly. If cutting by hand, use you’re best knife work to achieve consistently sized fries, thick or thin is up to you.
5lbs Starchy Potatoes
3Lt Oil or Fat of your choosing
1Tbsp Salt fo your choosing
30ml White vinegar
1ea Clean 20lt Bucket
1. Cut your Fries, using a cutter or by hand. (You can peel them, or leave the peels on. I prefer the peels on.) Again, if cutting your Frites by hand, do your best to keep them consistent in size.
2. Fill the 20lt Bucket with room temperature water. Add the vinegar to the water. Then add your fries. In our test kitchen, the vinegar fries were slightly crispier, but we found the vinegar to actually improve the flavour of the finished product.
3. Store your fries at room temperature. Ensure they are completely covered by the vinegar water, use a plate as a weight if need be. Keep them submerged for at least 12 hours and up to 20. Storing the fries at room temperature will prevent the starches in the Potatoes from turning into sugars. This results in an even, golden finished product versus a frite that is dark, bitter and over caramelized.
4. Heat your oil/fat to 250F. You will use this low temperature to ‘blanche’ the frites. The idea is to cook them through at a low heat, then brown them at a much higher temperature.
5. Pour off the vinegar water and discard. Pour your Frites into the sink. Fill your sink with running water. Agitate the potatoes. You will notice they are giving off cloudy starch. Continue to lightly churn them every few minutes. Change the water a couple times. What you’re after is clean soaking liquid. You want the cut Potatoes to give off as much starch as possible. This starch and sugar coming off the potatoes would prematurely brown them when fried, if not removed at this stage.
6. Fry your potatoes in batches at 250F. Cook the potatoes until you are able to crush them easily between your thumb and forefinger. This should take 2-5 minutes depending on how you have cut your potatoes. Have an area nearby ready for you to dump your Frites. A tea towel-lined baking sheet works well to absorb excess fat.
7. Portion the fries into plastic bags, assuming of course that you’re not going to require 5lbs of fries right now. Freeze your fries. In the test kitchen, we found that freezing the Frites made for a flakier lighter product. After much research, the theory stands that freezing the Potatoes creates microscopic shards of ice within the potato’s structure that work to tenderize it’s makeup. Although this step isn’t essential, I think it’s worth it.
8. When ready to eat the fries. Heat the oil/fat to 350F. Fry the Frites in small batches. They can be cooked from thawed or frozen. Frozen fries will naturally take longer to crisp. They should take 2-5 minutes to crisp up. Salt them aggresively while they are still hot. Enjoy them with Mayonaise, Ketchup or on their own!
Try these Frites, and let me know what you think in the comments. If you’ve got any other Tips, Tricks or Secrets on making killer Frites, please share them.
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