When I was a kid, grease/oil was dearer than today. If Mom deep fried do-nuts, fish, or whatever, the grease must be cleaned to use again. (Nothing was ever thrown out.) To do this, she’d strain out any burnt pieces of food or batter from the grease, put the strained grease back in a clean deep fryer skillet, then fry potatoes, usually French fries, in that grease. The potatoes absorbed and removed any flavors trapped in the grease. After that process, the grease was clean and ready to reuse. Mom was ever so careful dealing with hot or warm grease and it was usually done when there were no kids underfoot.
As if deep fried do-nuts were not special enough, the next day, we always got French fries. (This, of course, was pre-McDonald’s.) As a kid, eating French fries was quite a treat—still is.
Every now and then, usually on a cold winter’s day, I get the notion to make French fries here at home. I don’t like dealing with all that grease/oil so I bake them. This is a great recipe and the fries are not only better tasting, but, because there are no chemicals or color enhancers added, they are healthier than those you get from the frozen food department at the store. I’m no French fry connoisseur, but I think they taste a whole lot like McDonald’s fries.
FRENCH FRIES (CRISPY BAKED)
(You need a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet for this recipe.)
- 4 russet potatoes (6 to 8 ounces each), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick fries.
- 6 TBS. vegetable oil
- 1 TBS. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. salt
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450⁰.
2. Place potatoes in bowl, wrap tightly with plastic. Microwave on high 2 minutes, then shake bowl to redistribute potatoes and microwave 2 more minutes.
3. Transfer potatoes to cooling rack and if necessary, blot dry with paper towels.
4. Coat heavy-duty-rimmed baking sheet with 5 TBS. of oil. Transfer baking sheet to oven and heat until just smoking, 5 to 7 min.
5. Meanwhile, whisk remaining tablespoon of oil, cornstarch, and salt in large bowl.
6. Add potatoes to bowl with cornstarch mixture and toss to coat.
7. When baking sheet is hot, remove from oven and carefully arrange coated potatoes in single layer on baking sheet.
8. Return baking sheet with potatoes to oven and bake until potatoes are deep golden brown and crisp, about 25 to 35 minutes, turning potatoes halfway through cooking time.
9. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Blot with additional paper towels if necessary.