Sunday, November 23, 2008
Ryan: "But what do you use to make fries?"
Me: "Potatoes and oil"
Ryan: "What else?"
Me: "That's all, potatoes and oil."
Ryan: "But they're too good to not have other stuff in them."
When Farmer Paul and I got married, the agreement was that he would take care of any bugs and/or rodents that dared to invade my space (and, as we lived in Texas, the bug part of it came into play often). In exchange, I agreed to take care of all of our frying needs. Again, being in Texas, this covered everything from bacon to okra to jalapenos to turkeys. We have both benefited greatly from the deal.
Frying has never concerned me. I have gotten huge blistered burns from oil (lesson #1, NEVER attempt to cool even a little bit of oil down quickly by adding cold water!!) but It's never scared me for long. I know there are plenty of people that are afraid to fry, and many who have bad - read greasy - results from their attempts. But it's really not difficult, though it can be messy.
Today was the best kind of day for frying. Cool outside, but not cold, meaning you can keep the doors open and air moving through the house, but you're not going to get too hot or cold. So, on a perfect frying day, we decided to make homemade fries. And really, all it takes is potatoes and oil along with your seasoning and condiment of choice.
First peel (or not, depending on your preference) several Russet potatoes...however many you want. Cut them into french fries, and put them in a big bowl of cold water. Let them soak at least an hour. I haven't soaked them more than about 2 hours, so I don't know if longer would cause problems.
After they've soaked, heat your oil to 350. No more, no less. I make mine in an electric skillet, if you have a fryer, that's great. Stovetop frying is touchier and more difficult to keep the oil at the proper temperature.
Dump your potatoes out into a colander while the oil heats and allow them to drain. If they're still pretty wet when the oil is hot, use a towel to dry them a bit more. Again...oil and water don't mix!
Set out a cookie sheet covered with a couple layers of newspaper which in turn is covered with paper towels. The newspaper does a good job of soaking up extra grease.
Add some of the potatoes to your oil. Again, I can't tell you how many, just don't put too many in or the oil temperature will drop and you'll end up with greasy fries. Swoosh the fries around a couple of times to make sure they're not sticking together. After 3-5 minutes, the fries will look like this:
Pale, soggy and un-fried looking. That's fine. Just put them on the paper towels and move on to the next batch. Keep going until you've cooked all the potatoes.
Now raise the temperature on your oil to 400 or 425. My electric skillet only goes to 400, so that's what I do, but the higher the oil, the browner your fries will end up. Dump your french fries into the colander to free up your cookie sheet. Replace the newspaper and paper towels if necessary.
Once the oil is at 400, put your first batch of fries in the oil. Then start watching. After a bit, they'll start floating. Start watching for them to get nice and golden brown. Scoop them out of the oil, season and eat as soon as they're cool enough to handle.
I like dipping them in a mixture of ketchup and horseradish. Farmer Paul's condiment of choice is A1 Pepper Sauce, Nick goes for Jalapeno Ranch, Austin's a Frank's Hot Sauce mixed with ketchup addict, and Ryan eats them plain and dry. Take your pick. It's all good.