Oh, life’s simple pleasures. After blogging about my fabulous Valentine’s Day sloppy joes, my 100% home-made ginger ale and my quick coleslaw, here is the last piece of the puzzle: perfect, crisp and not at all soggy, delicious hand-cut frites. From what I’ve learned, the secret to great fries is thoroughly drying the potatoes and frying them twice. This will give your fries that much-desired shell on the outside, and prevent them from becoming soggy and oil-soaked, even when they cool down.
These frites were the perfect finishing touch to our Valentine’s Day meal. After all, what goes better with a flavorful and messy American sandwich than fries? Not much, if you ask me. Although the combination of both lots of bread and potatoes was a bit hard on our digestive systems, I’m pretty sure I would do this all over again. Plus, dipping the fries in both the sloppy joe and coleslaw sauces was way better than ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard.
Hand-cut twice-fried frites
Oil or shortening for frying
Other seasoning of your choice
Begin by peeling the potatoes. I like to cut mine into really small batonnets, which will allow for a faster cooking time, and nice, crisp fries. You can choose the size and shape that you want, knowing that the cooking time will vary. Slice those potatoes up!
Line the sliced potatoes on plates or baking sheets with paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. Let them set out for at least 20-30 minutes before cooking them. As they’re drying, you can prepare your oil.
We used special frying oil, but you could substitute with shortening. Our “fryer” is actually just a small metal pot with a wire rack that sits inside. Nothing fancy! Heat your oil or shortening until it’s nearly smoking. If you’re not sure if it’s hot enough, you can drizzle in a tiny bit of water: it should crackle and jump, meaning that it’s ready for you to get started!
Don’t be tempted to put all the fries in one batch. Your fries should be well-covered by the oil, and able to move about. We did ours in two batches. Add your first batch to the oil and cook until they just begin to brown, generally about 15 minutes for thinish frites. Remove from the oil and spread them out on paper towels, absorbing as much of the grease as possible. Let them rest for at least 20 minutes, until they’ve cooled down substantially, before popping them back into the hot oil.
This is when you take control of your recipe, depending on how cooked and crisp you like your fries. We left ours about 10 minutes longer until they were dark brown but not burnt. The result was a crispy, almost chip-like frite that went perfectly with my coleslaw and held up to the pool of sauce that formed on my plate! There was nothing soggy and sad about these fries!