One of the things I rarely make is fresh french fries. I buy the bags of various frozen kinds and either bake or deep fry them. The main reason is making french fries from scratch is annoying. Cutting, soaking, drying, frying at one temp to cook the inside and then cranking up the heat and frying a second time to get the crisp exterior . . . see what I mean, a hassle and very annoying. So I decided to give this cold oil method a try . . . and I, and my family, was pleasantly surprised.
- 4-5 potatoes of various kinds. Like Russets or Yukon Golds
- 4, or so, quarts of vegetable oil (or peanut or safflower oil) Do not use olive oil, or any low smoke point oil
That's it, that's all it takes.
- Cut the potatoes in sticks, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch cross-section. You can go as big as a half inch, but any larger and I would worry about cooking time. Don't worry about peeling them, the skin, especially on Yukon Golds are delicious fried.
- Put the fries into a large dutch oven, or heavy bottom pan (to retain heat)
- Cover by at least an inch in oil, but don't get too close to the top or the oil might boil over once you get it near cooking temp.
- Turn on the burner to med-high and step away -- not far, you have oil on the stove, but don't mess with them.
- After about 5 minutes the potatoes will be in a rolling boil. . . Do Not Touch Them. If you do, they will start breaking apart, this is the point where they are at their most fragile..
- After about 10-12 minutes they are hard enough to move around. Be gentle, but stir them around, make sure none are sticking to the bottom of the pot or each other.
- Keep cooking until they are nice and golden brown, my last batch took over 30 total minutes to cook.
- Remove to a drain rack and salt immediately. They may still be a bit soft, the brief draining time will cause them to firm up further.
Delicious and crispy! I do like to pull out a couple right when I think they are ready and test, but be careful, the oil is hot and so will the fries right out of the oil.
For some reason I was expecting them to be greasy, but to my surprise they were no greasier than the bagged fries when I deep fry them. It does take longer than a bagged variety, but not all that much longer. I also put a thermometer in the oil and make sure it doesn't get too hot (over 390F). This way the oil doesn't start breaking down and after straining it through a couple of layers of cheesecloth, I can get several uses out of the oil . . . only for frying though. Not sure how it would work in salad dressing.