Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
French fries-The All-American food
Making the perfect French fry - crisp golden brown on the outside and barely fluffy inside - is a three step procedure.
HOW RESTAURANTS MAKE PERFECT FRENCH FRIES
It's best to peel, cut and freeze 24 hours ahead.
1. Peel and cut the potatoes and then soak the potato sticks in water for 24 hours.
2. Drain the potato sticks, pat them dry and blanch them in 4-inches of oil heated to 325 to 350 F. oil. Don't brown the potatoes, drain them when they're barely cooked through and limp. (This cooks and gelatinizes the starch of the fry.) You can freeze them at this point, which actually improves the texture and the crispness. Freeze them in a single layer on baking sheets for at least 2 hours before transferring them to plastic freezer bags.
3. When serving time comes the potatoes (frozen or not) go into even hotter oil (350 to 400 F.) to brown and crisp. The second time the moisture inside the potato migrates to the surface. The cold fry hitting the hot oil causes fries to crisp up quickly, browning and sealing the outside while steaming the inside. The steam escaping from the surface also increases the overall temperature of the fry. You can do this at home and equal the product that the finest restaurants serve.
SWEET POTATO FRIES
Particularly good with ham or pork.
peanut or canola oil
Pour enough oil into a large, heavy, deep pot to reach a depth of at least 4-inches. Heat to 2750F. Working batches, fry for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften but not brown. Transfer fries to paper towels to drain. Cover and place in a single layer on cookie sheets. Cover and place in freezer for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen.
If keeping more than 6 hours, transfer to plastic freezer bag. Heat oil to 3500F. Working batches, add the frozen fries to the oil and fry about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain. Season with salt and sugar. Makes 4 servings.
The British call fries "chips" and serve them with vinegar or mayonnaise. We seem to prefer ketchup but whatever your cup-of-tea, fries like a little saucing. Here are some variations on the catsup and mustard themes.
SUN-DRIED TOMATO AIOLI
A great replacement for ketchup on steak sandwiches or hamburgers. Also excellent with grilled shrimp and with fries, of course.
¼ cup drained (reserve the oil) and chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Puree tomatoes and garlic in food processor. Add tomato juice, egg yolks, cayenne and sugar; process for 30 seconds or until blended. With processor running, gradually add the oil form tomatoes and the peanut oil in a slow, steady stream, processing until mixture is completely emulsified. Season. Store with plastic wrap pressed directly onto surface to prevent skin from forming; refrigerate. Makes 2 cups.
MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE
Great on sandwiches or mixed into a tuna or chicken salad.
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Combine mustard, lemon juice and egg yolks in a food processor and process for 30 seconds, or until blended. With processor running, gradually add vegetable and olive oils in a thin stream, processing until mixture is emulsified. Season with sugar and pepper. Store with plastic wrap directly pressed onto surface of the sauce; refrigerate. Makes 2 cups.
POTATOES SHOULD BE PLANTED DURING THE NEW MOON AND HARVESTED WHEN THE MOON IS FULL.