How to fry a potato – Revised

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I had a reader send in a comment. Fella’s web name is johnpaulstevenson. He has his own food blog and is well worth the reading. After trying his method I have come up with the following revision, sort of a combo between my first method and his. Good readers are a niceness, and this one was a real jewel.

This will give your food Nazi fits. Tough. They’re good.

OK, what us American types call French Fries probably came from Belgium somewhere in the 18th century; give a take a decade or two. Everybody in the world has had a fry, just about. Most of the ones you get from the fast food joints are just gross. Properly prepared, they a culinary delight.

To properly prepare these little delights takes a bit more effort than is apparent on the surface. So, get your best cooking cap on and let’s go get ‘em. For starters, use good grade potatoes. My suggestions are Idahos, Russets, or Yukon Golds. Whack them up into 1/4” strips. You can skin them or not as your taste dictates. I like the skins on. Tradition in this country is peeled. You can also make them a bit thinner for shoestring style, or thicker for “home fries” style. To my taste thin is better than thick. Your mileage may vary.

Once you’ve got them chopped up you need to move fairly quickly or plunge them into an ice bath. Potatoes left exposed to air deteriorate rapidly. If you do the ice water soak, dry them well on a paper towel just before cooling. Water and hot oil is a no good combo.

You can use a cast iron deep fryer or an electric skillet. The electric skillet is a bit easier to control temperature. If you use a fryer then use a thermometer. Temperature is critical. Put enough oil to make a deep fry possible, but leave lots of room at the top, it will foam up when the spuds are added. Now – what kind of oil is up to you, you just need a smoke point less than 400°. Peanut oil is good, or any other tasteless, healthy oil. Now if you are ready to shoot the food Nazi and want just glorious taste, use lard or beef fat, which was what was originally used. These will be the most wonderful taste that you ever had. Your cholesterol doesn’t go up quite as far as you may think if you cook them right.

Now get that oil to a steady 240° and ease small batches in. Don’t load so much that they stick together or lower the temperature of the oil. Move them around every now and then so they don’t stick together. Never mind the time, just fry until they float and then pull them out – just make sure they don’t brown. When they float they should still be white and have gotten nice and limp. What we are doing is just boiling the water out of the innards without cooking the outards. If the outside gets browned we cannot move any more water out of the inside and it will get soggy. Pull them out with a slotted spoon or kitchen spider and lay them on paper towels or paper sacks or a rack to drain. Do this 10 minutes to 2 hours ahead of time.

When you are ready to finish, jack the temp up to 350°. Once again cook in small batches. This time you are aiming for a golden brown. Add salt, pepper, dill, or whatever spices you like the second you take them from the pan to the draining paper or rack. If you’ve done everything right they will be light, non-greasy, crisp outside and airy inside with a wonderful taste.

A really good go-with is to melt a stick of butter, a couple of cloves of smashed and chopped garlic, with whatever herbs you like. Dill or parsley comes to mind. Just combine and heat until the flavors come together. Don’t fry the stuff. Anyway, drizzle this over the fries just before serving. No, it doesn’t make them too greasy if you got them cooked right to start with.

Herself sez: Gee these go well with one of his good steaks! Thanks to johnpaulstevenson for the modification of the temp. Really makes a difference!!

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3 Responses to “How to fry a potato – Revised”

  1. Suzanne Says:

    This sounds great, but the way my dh and I love potatoes, we’d end up eating way too many of them. Now try Pommes Anna, a dish Napoleon’s chef came up with when he needed something special, and they were “in the field” and had very little to work with. I don’t make potato dishes much any more because we are both overweight and love them too much. Anyway, I’ve never been able to make Potatoes Anna without them turning out rather greasy.

  2. Martie Says:

    I’ve heard about this method for frying but never seem to think about it ahead enough to do it. I need to try it soon. Thanks to ewriggs for linking to your blog! I’ll try to be back to check it out again when I have more time on my hands!

  3. Dialectizer!! - or - Even Turtles Need a Laugh! « Turtle Rock Says:

    […] I dialectized one of the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s Blogs – the one about How to Fry a Potato, Revised – into Swedish Chef dialect. Enjoy!! Hoo tu fry a […]

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