Monday, June 20, 2011

Oven Fries

When I first started cooking, I roasted everything in oven.  Roasted potatoes.  Roasted asparagus.  Roasted onions.  Roasted Brussels sprouts.  Roasted mixed veg.  I don't know why because my parents didn't cook that way growing up.  It was just a method I snatched on to and held tight.

And don't get me wrong, roasted veg. is good.  Great.  But, I don't think I ever gave the roasting process the respect it deserves.  Until I tried this recipe for oven fries.  And I have been making these puppies for 3 years running.  Genius!  This recipe is perfect.

I have to be honest.  There is a part of me that wants to scream/cry/throw things when I have to follow an obsessive compulsive recipe like this.  I love perfection in cooking and recipe writing, but I also hate reading and re-reading and checking a recipe while I am cooking.  I do it, though, because I know it is the only way to expand my tool box.  My friend always talks about her tool box and how she continues to learn and grow in her career by constantly filling her tool box with "tools" that she can whip out, as needed.  That is how trying recipes is for me.  If you try out enough recipes, you will find some real gems that will come in handy later (i.e. feeding guests).  AND lots of recipes are morphed versions of each other, so trying out new ones ain't even so bad.

This is why I try approximately 5 new recipes each week.  It is also why I am not dealing out original recipes left and right.  I am still building my tool box, man!  I can invent a pasta dish, a salad, a sandwich...I can definitely copy other people's genius ideas without a recipe.  But with all the great chefs out there with infinitely bigger toolboxes than me, I am happy finding and sharing my tools with you.

And this recipe is the perfect example of the development of a method that is really impressive.  If you are going to try this, follow the rules!  Heavy baking sheet!  Exactly 5 tablespoons of light cooking oil (not olive oil)!  Cover, uncover, flip, switch, rotate.  These are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  And don't try to make fries healthy.  Just eat something else. And eat these less.  Than healthy things.  Kisses.  

Oven Fries

NOTE: Take care to cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges so that all of the pieces will cook at about the same rate. Although it isn't required, a nonstick baking sheet works particularly well for this recipe. It not only keeps the fries from sticking to the pan but, because of its dark color, encourages deep and even browning. Whether you choose a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet, make sure that it is heavy duty. The intense heat of the oven may cause lighter pans to warp.

3 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 evenly sized wedges
5 tbsp vegetable oil or peanut oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (see note) with 4 tablespoons oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple layer of paper towels and thoroughly pat dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.

Transfer fries to second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

(Servings: 3-4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 35 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5


  1. Cook's Illustrated always has the weirdest and yet tried and true techniques that I would never have thought of on my own, but are perfect toolbox material! These oven fries sound and look delicious!

  2. I had some roasted potatoes yesterday too. Your oven fries look perfectly golden brown and crisp.

  3. We are making burgers on Thursday night and these fries will make lovely accompaniments. Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your delicious world. Fries always make me smile. I hope you are having a beautiful Wednesday. Love from Austin!