Friday, July 21, 2006

Abstract: Oven Fries

I like to make fries in the oven. They are so good with a hamburger, mmmmm. I got the recipe I use from Martha Stewart, but my fries usually stick to the pan and sometimes turn out mushy. I was glad to find this article about oven fries in my sister's free sample of Cook's Illustrated. The cook/author experimented with many techniques to get the perfect fry and came up a few things that I was surprised made a difference.
1. soak the potatoes (after cutting) in hot water for 10 min. (contributes to crunchy surface and smooth interior.
2. put oven rack in lowest position. (helps them crisp up and brown evenly)
3. spread olive oil on pan AND sprinkle salt and pepper on pan. (minimizes potatoes sticking to pan. apparently the salt "Acted like little ball bearings . . . and kept the potatoes from sticking to the pan . . .")
4.cover the potatoes with foil - at first. (steams the potato, contributing to a perfect interior)

Here is the Ultimate Oven Fries recipe (I should give credit to the cook/author Julia Collin Davison).

3 russet potatoes (about 8 oz. each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 evenly sized wedges
5 T. vegetable or peanut oil (you can use olive, but the flavor gets in the way a little bit)
salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 min. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12 " HEAVY DUTY rimmed baking sheet with 4 T. oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper; set aside.
2. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 T. oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 min. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 min., rotating baking sheet after 10 min. using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip wach wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5-15 min. longer, roating pan as needed if fries are browning unevely.
3. Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with addtional salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Lindsey said...

I've made these. So good. I love to hate Cooks' Illustrated. Everything I make from them rocks. But I hate their editor. He's such a pompous nerd.

Erin said...

I agree. I don't like the lack of good photography either. Sketches just don't cut it.

robin kendall said...

Thanks for this post, Erin. I'm going to use that salt and pepper idea next time I make potatoes like this (mine always stick).

Your blog makes me hungry...