Monday, March 22, 2010

Oven Fries

I am such a sucker for oven fries. After all, Rule #39 in Michael Pollan's new book is: "Eat all the junk food as long as you make it yourself."

My only problem is I can't get them crispy enough. I've quartered them, sliced them in a mandoline, sliced them in a food processor. I've used a little oil, no oil, vegetable, and olive. They always end up a little limp. Mike, my brother-in-law, got me the America's Test Kitchen family cookbook last year. I've been exploring it lately*, and found a recipe for oven fries. The tag line said, "oven fries so crispy, you'll swear they're take-out." Sign. Me. Up.

Oven Fries
From America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

3 large russet potatoes (10 oz each), cut lengthwise into 10-12 evenly sized wedges [Note: I left the peels on...because I'm just that kind of girl]
5 T vegetable oil [Note: Don't use olive oil here; it will overwhelm the flavor of the potatoes]
Salt and pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 475-degrees.

2. Place potatoes in a large bowl, cover with hot tap water, and allow to soak for 10 minutes. While potatoes are soaking, coat a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle the baking sheet evenly with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. Drain the potatoes, spread them out over paper towels, and pat them dry thoroughly. Toss the dried potatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange the potatoes, cut-side down, in a single-layer over the prepared baking sheet. Cover the sheet tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the sides of the potatoes touching the pan are crusty and golden, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes.

5. Using a metal spatula, scrape to loosen the potatoes from the pan, then flip each wedge over (keeping the potatoes in a single layer). Continue to bake until the fries are golden and crisp on both sides, 10-15 minutes longer, rotating the pan as needed if the fries are browning unevenly. Transfer the fries to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and season with sale and pepper.

*This cookbook is great! They have some great kitchen techniques, utensil reviews, and tips. I highly recommend it for the chef who wants to branch out from her comfort zone, but still keep the menu accessible.

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