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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).

Ingredients:

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • Canola oil for deep-frying
  • Sea salt

Directions:

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).