Thick Steak Fries
Skinny fries may have their fans, but when you want potatoes you can sink your teeth into, make a batch of these hefty steak fries. To ensure a perfectly crisp exterior and a light and fluffy interior, you need to soak, dry and double fry the potatoes. To really take it over the top, serve them with homemade ketchup (see recipe at left).
- 4 large baking potatoes
- Canola oil for deep-frying
- Sea salt
At least 3 1/2 hours before serving, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Cut each half into wedges about 1/2 inch thick. Place the wedges in a large bowl and add ice water to cover. Let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Drain the potatoes well. In batches, spin them dry in a salad spinner, then spread them on kitchen towels, wrap them up and let stand for 30 minutes more to absorb any remaining moisture.
Pour oil to a depth of at least 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over high heat to 315°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Set a large wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove.
In batches to avoid crowding, add the potatoes to the hot oil and deep-fry, stirring them occasionally with a wooden spoon to separate them, until they turn pale gold and are almost floppy, about 4 minutes. The potatoes should not be browned at this point, though they can be a little browned at the edges. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the potatoes to the rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, allowing the oil to return to 315°F before adding the next batch. Remove the saucepan with the oil from the heat and set aside. Let the potatoes stand until completely cooled, at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 200°F. Reheat the oil in the saucepan over high heat to 350°F. Transfer the potatoes to another baking sheet (no need to outfit this one with a rack), so the first baking sheet with its rack is free to hold the fully cooked fries. In batches to avoid crowding, add the potatoes to the hot oil and deep-fry until crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the rack and keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining potatoes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with salt. Serve at once. Serves 4.
Variation: Ketchup is the classic accompaniment for fries in the U.S., but the Belgians love mayonnaise with their fries. For a decadent treat, stir minced fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme are especially good), grated lemon zest, or minced garlic into homemade mayonnaise (see recipe at left).
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).