Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy Oven Frites

The original recipe for Easy Oven Frites can be found on which is the Disney Family website.

For the first post I decided to make Easy Oven Frites, a relatively easy recipe for Frites (fancy word for French Fries) that my daughter and I are wild over! It also utilizes a few very basic skills, and has a great turn out for minimal work. 

The Recipe calls for:
2lbs Russet Potatoes (Idaho's most people know them as)
Approximately 2 cups of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO for you Rachel Ray fans)
Kosher Salt (sea salt is great too)
1 tbsn of Parsley
1 Clove Garlic (I do not use this, because it doesn't spread evenly or easily enough)

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. 

Bring some water to a boil in a steamer pot as well. 

For those who have not done a lot of veg prep, the first thing you do before cutting is wash the potatoes very very well.  This is important so you don't accidentally spread food born contagions. Put your potatoes in a strainer and wash thoroughly with cold water, make sure you dry them afterwards.

Here is a tip for everyone! Before you use your cut board, take a small paper towel and wet it down, wring it out, then lay it flat on the counter top. Then lay your cut board on top of it. I guarantee your board will barely move, if at all. It makes it much more stable, and enjoyable.

Now this is the toughest part of this entire enterprise, the cutting of potatoes in to fry shape. It's not terribly complicated but you need to be careful when doing this. I recommend a santoku knife for the job (pictured cutting the potatoes), though a chef's knife is just as effective. The reason I say santoku over the chef's knife is because I personally feel I have more control over the cut with the santoku when cutting vegetables. Use your preference or whatever you have. Since potatoes are round cut a small slab off of what will be the bottom, to give yourself a flat stable surface to work with.  Then on the "side" of the offending potato cut in about 3/4 of the way through, about a quarter inch apart. Make sure the potato is still attached to itself on the other side.

From here you're going to turn the potato back to the flattened side down, the cuts you made will be on the right hand side, and the "top" of the potato will not have any cuts yet. Start to cut all the way through the potato from the top down. You'll notice immediately the cut off potato pieces will magically be in the proper shape for frites, fries, whatever.

When you've cut through most of the potato you might have a chip sized slice left not in fry form. Go ahead and just put it down and cut it length wise, no one will know the difference.

Once you have cut all your potatoes put them in to your steam pot. Do not overload your steam pot like I did, if it takes three batches that's fine. Smaller loads will help maintain the shape of the fries. Steam them for 12 minutes per load, I wouldn't steam them less because the final texture would be odd, too much longer and you'll be making very complicated mashed potatoes. 

Once you've completed the steaming put the fries in a bowl (I recommend doing this per load) and drizzle (DO NOT DUMP) Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the fries. Gently flip the fries around by bouncing the bowl forward and then up a few times to evenly cover all the fries. If you use the right amount of oil you should not need to strain the oil out. Once you've coated the fries put them on a pan that you have sprayed well with Pam (do not use tin foil, I did the first time and it was not good). 

After all the loads of steaming and coating have been completed put the pan in the oven (preheated to 500F) for 15 minutes. When 15 minutes have passed take it out, stir or flip the fries with a spatula, and put them in for another 10 minutes. This will help ensure crispiness and color. Keep in mind also this is my oven I am talking about and not yours. I don't encourage (actually I discourage) constantly opening the oven to check on food because you lose your heat, but this is also more of a "lookin' thing" not an "exact science". 

While your frites, fries, whatever are in the oven we go back to the cutting board. Because we are not shifting food types you don't REALLY need to wash your knife and board in between (it just depends on how paranoid you really are). Take out about a palm full of fresh parsley (a full palm full) and put it on your board. Make sure you keep your fingers curled in and start to very finely chop the pile until it starts to lose it's bulk. Then make it in to a pile and start to chop it more finely, and repeat until it reminds you more of a pepper grind than shrubbery. It's difficult to describe the technique, but I will say after the initial chop you should be able to keep the tip of the knife on the cut board and go to town. No you don't have to have the fancy little glass Pyrex bowl, but it sure looks Food Network doesn't it ;)

Once your frites, fries, whatever are finished in the oven take them out, and IMMEDIATELY season with the Kosher salt and the fresh cut parsley. IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU DO THIS WHEN THE FRIES ARE SCREAMING HOT OR ELSE THE FLAVORS WILL NOT MIX! IF YOU'VE EVER HAD CRAPPY MCDONALD'S FRIES THIS IS WHY. Also remember before you take the fries out of the oven, the phrase "Golden brown and delicious" (thank you Alton Brown) should apply to the fries.

Above we have the finished product :)

These frites, fries, whatever will ABSOLUTELY change your opinion of Fries for the better. They are lower fat, lower cal., and actually have health value. They are salty, herby, and have a great crunch to them. I even made soup to go with them instead of a burger (though burgers are EXCELLENT with these). 

All in all this is a very easy, very family friendly dish to make. It takes about an hour or so if you have all the ingredients on hand. I wasn't very careful with the first batch size so unfortunately many of my fries lost shape, but I figured out the problem in time to preserve the second steam batch. This is the second time I have made these, and it was WAY easier than the first time, and the first time was pretty dang easy already. I highly recommend this to anyone, for any occasion. This tastes like a 3 hour dish, with way less work and way less clean up. 

Let me know what you think, I'm very interested. Give me ideas for the next challenge! Eat Well Everyone!

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