At the last farmer’s market I went to in 2017, one booth was handing out free potatoes. I’m not really a fan of russet potatoes, but I took a few anyway. Hey: free?
The way I like russets best is as French fries, or better yet, steak fries. Those shoestring fries? Way too skinny to cook properly – they’re either overdone, underdone, and they chill down to an unsatisfactory room temperature in seconds flat. Not worth the bother, whether in your own kitchen, or at a fast food dive.
No, fries are not the healthiest foods, but you can make them technically Paleo by using either coconut oil (I’m not crazy about coconut in my general fries, however), or avocado oil. 95% of the time when dining at a restaurant I’ll switch fries out for a more vegetable-ish side, or decline a side all together. But hey, once in a while!
So, let’s give the russet potato a chance here, eh?
The best method for making fries that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside is to twice-cook them. A boiling step, then a frying step.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes + 5 more minutes
Rest time: None. Okay, long enough you don’t burn your tongue
Serves: Typically, 2 (assuming a normal-sized Russet apiece), served as a side.
Leftovers: Not recommended.
- 2 small or medium Russet potatoes.
- 2 teaspoons salt for the first cooking step.
- High temperature cooking oil (high smoke point). If you can find it (Costco or BJ’s sells it for instance), I recommend avocado oil.
- Whatever condiments suit your fancy for at the end. I used salt and dried tarragon. Most people will probably want ketchup. Whatever floats your boat will work here.
Peel the potatoes if you desire. In my case, I cut out any green eyes, and any bad bits. The verdict is mixed, depending on source, as to whether potato skins are healthy, or if their anti-nutrient level outweighs any nutritional benefits.
Slice the potatoes so they live a bit large.
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil, sufficient to cover the potatoes. Add salt to this water.
Add the potatoes, and when the water returns to boil, cover and reduce heat quickly to a slow low simmer. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your sliced spuds. Fully steak fried size can usually handle 20 minutes. Regular fry size – try 15 minutes.
At the 15-20 minute mark, drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water until they come to at least room temp. Let them dry on paper towels, and pat the sides with the paper. You can refrigerate them until ready for the next step (preferably the same day).
Bring a saucepan of high-temp cooking oil to medium high heat. Flick a little water in; if the water droplet goes crazy, you are about right. If your oil starts smoking, you are definitely TOO hot (this is not good, you denature the oils and release carcinogens that way). I use the minimal amount of oil in the pan as I can – the (healthier) oils I prefer to use are on the pricier side.
Add the potato slices, you may have to do this in divided batches. There may be some splattering, I find a splatter guard helps. Move them around in the saucepan until they turn a bit golden.
Use a spider or some slotted device to remove the potato fries from the pan, and lay them out on another paper towel to drain. Move to a plate and sprinkle with salt and/or tarragon.
Continue frying any remaining potato slices until done, drained, and seasoned. I also fried up a few that had broken during the first cooking step.
Serve up immediately. Provide any favored condiments – ketchup is regular in America, perhaps malt vinegar in Great Britain (note, malt vinegar contains gluten, for those watching for that).
Leftover cooking oil? I believe (and act on the belief) that the oil can be used a second time. You can filter out any debris, and use it again. I wouldn’t use the same oil more than twice, however. (My second use for this particular oil went towards a second batch of pakoras a couple days later. I wouldn’t let the oil hang around forever – store it in the fridge for a couple of days then use it or lose it…)
I’m experimenting with timings for uploading posts on this blog. WordPress has a feature where you can pre-schedule posts for a certain day and time. I am going for early morning Fridays for my recipe posts, and the occasional early morning Tuesday for other sorts of posts (cookbooks, restaurant reviews, non-cooking how-to’s, gardening events). Or maybe the occasional extra recipe. But the Tuesday posts won’t necessarily happen every week. I may also miss the occasional Friday, but I’d rather not.
There will be some exceptions: I like posting on January first, whatever day that may fall on, to ring in each New Year. Or if I think of something creative for April Fool’s Day. And so forth. I do have a goal of three-four recipes each month, with at least one dish per month being vegetarian, and at least one being Paleo in the Whole 30 sense. (Sometimes the same dish). I will continue to visit cuisine that is not my native food. Sometimes I think I got dropped into the wrong body… There’s a world of great food out there!!!
Just as a heads-up, while I haven’t used gluten in any recipe for this blog since some of the earliest, there are about three recipes I want to make this year that do contain gluten. And, if they work out, I’m willing and eager to take the time to see if they can be adapted for gluten-free dining, for later posts.
Shared at FiestaFriday.net, where your co-hosts this week are Lily (littlesweetbaker.com) and Judi (cookingwithauntjuju.com). Having laptop difficulties, so the actual links can’t be added. 😠