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Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally...Crispy Oven Fries!

I have a love/hate relationship with potatoes.  I love to eat them; I'm terrible at cooking them.  I make a mean mashed potato, but I can never get potato pancakes to crisp or oven fries to crunch...until now.  I stumbled across this recipe for Crispy Oven-Baked Potato Fries a few weeks ago at The Comfort of Cooking, and now I have a go-to recipe for homemade fries without all of the grease from a deep fryer.

These were delicious with just some salt and pepper, but I will surely experiment with other herbs and spices in the future.
Crispy Oven Fries
from The Comfort of Cooking
makes 3-4 servings

3 russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), peeled and cut lengthwise into even-sized wedges
5 Tbl vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
¾ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-30 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this). Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 12-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 7 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5-10 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.

When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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Shannon Marie April 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM  

I love doing my fries like this too! I found the recipe in Cook's Illustrated Light cookbook. You get the crispy crunch of a fried potato without the gallons of hot oil to deal with. I'll bet you could toss them with seasoning like creole or steak seasoning too. What do you think?

Danielle April 18, 2011 at 4:24 PM  

Perfect! Thanks for the recipe. I always make oven fries but I always wish they were crispier. I also recently read that if you run the potatoes under cold water until the water runs clear, that gets the excess starch off of them and I think that allows them to crisp up as well. I guess that's the same idea as letting them soak but maybe it would be quicker?

Mindy April 18, 2011 at 4:28 PM  

Shannon, I have some Chicago steak seasoning that someone gave me as a gift...I'll have to try it out! I was also thinking a combo of cumin and coriander would go well with Mexican flavors. :-)

Danielle, it might work. As I mentioned, I'm kind of terrible at crisping up potatoes! ;-) The hot water was definitely starchy when I drained the potatoes. The one thing the soaking might do is keep the moisture inside to steam the potato while crisping in the oven. Let me know if you try the cold-water method, though. It would be nice to cut the prep time down a little with this recipe.

EC Gefroh April 18, 2011 at 5:53 PM  

Mahalo for sharing. I was wondering how to make the fries crispy using the oven method.

Peggy April 18, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

I definitely prefer my fries this way! I hardly ever fry them in any oil!

These look perfectly crisp and wonderfully seasoned! =)

Alisa April 19, 2011 at 12:52 PM  

A friend of mine told me to soak the potatoes in warm water with sugar for 10-15 mins.1/3 cup sugar for 2 cups of warm water,then drain and pat dry.Add salt and pepper or seasonings and bake.It will make your fries really crispy.

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