I don’t know why, but (to me) fries tasted different in Europe. It wasn’t the fact that they often are dipped in mayo or other exotic sauces, seemingly the fries themselves, had a different flavor. The fries I most often had in Europe had a tendency towards the long and narrow versus thick and chunky. Light and crispy, oh baby, have I been craving me some pommes frites.
In order to make a really good fry, the preferred method is to double fry them. I won’t get into all the technicalities of why it makes them crisper (mostly because I don’t know them exactly), but it does. My problem is, I wanted crisp pommes frites but I didn’t want to fry them. How was I going to achieve the thin crunchy pommes frites that I remember so well without deep frying them?
I used the next best thing to a fryer, my oven. A small amount of oil is still required but only 2 tablespoons, definitely doable if you are looking for something a little healthier. The best part about cooking pommes frites in the oven? Less mess and the cooking is mostly unattended. Season them with a little bit of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and I guarantee you won’t have any left over.
Most importantly are to soak the potatoes in salted water and dry them thoroughly prior to baking them. The soak helps remove some of the starch = crispy, and making sure they are dry ensures they won’t steam in the oven = crispy. I left the skins on and used a mandolin slicer to cut my fries (read: time savers).
Note: Do not crowd the potatoes on the baking sheet or they will not cook evenly (I crowded my a bit this time and I could tell the difference). Also, do not use more than 2 tbsp. of oil or you will “boil” the potatoes versus “frying” them….trust me!
- 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- Water (enough to cover cut potatoes)
- 2 tbsp. Canola Oil
- Fresh ground sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut your potatoes into even 1/4 ‘ strips, using a mandolin or knife. In a large bowl, cover them with water, add salt and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Ensure the potatoes are completely dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the oil, sea salt and black pepper. Spread evenly on two baking sheets, leaving a little space between each strip. Bake for 45 minutes, turning occasionally for even browning.
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