Saturday, January 5, 2013
How Do You Like Them Fries?
Sorry. I apologize for the vague Good Will Hunting reference, but I just read this amazing oral history of how the movie got made. It's a must read for fans Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Try not to choke on your drink when you realize this has been written because it has been 15 years since the movie came out. If I lived anywhere near anyone I would organize a viewing party. Someone else would have to bring the movie (Interesting that I don't own the movie. I own a lot of movies. Why not this? Also, why not The Cutting Edge?
But I'd be happy to provide dinner. Burgers of course (blue collar food only for this movie) with fries. The ones pictured above are Melissa d'Arabian's oven fries and they are both dead easy to make and delicious.
I'm transcribing the recipe as I make it, just in case my tips and tricks help you at all.
PS: How do you like the super big picture? Too much? Please advise.
2 baking potatoes
2 T olive oil (she uses regular vegetable oil. I am lazy and my olive oil is on the counter and my regular oil isn't. Just use some oil, okay? Probably not peanut because that might be gross).
1 t paprika
1 t sugar
Preheat your oven to 400 F (or you know, 425 or 450 - we're sloppy about that). Get a bowl and mix together the paprika, oil and sugar. I can promise you that I measured the oil+paprika+sugar step exactly ONCE, the first time I made it. Now I just kind of chuck it in and mix it up. This leads me to believe that it is not exact. But don't skip because you need the oil to keep them from sticking and the paprika and sugar help with the beautiful fry coloring.
Cutting the potatoes is the second hardest part. I peel them, then cut each in half. Then I make even vertical cuts through one half, then turn my stack and make vertical cuts the other way to make sticks. I throw out little bits that make the fries not look pretty and do a bit of trimming. It's wasteful, but you look more accomplished that way. And you can pretend it's because it will help the fries cook evenly (maybe it does?)
When your potatoes are cut, toss them thoroughly in the oil mixture and then lay out on a baking sheet. You can see from the picture that mine is DARK with age. I honestly believe a dark pan is key to this working, so if you have a dark one, go with that. I put NO oil on the pan. Lay out the potatoes so they don't touch. My pan is exactly large enough for two potatoes. It's a pretty standard cookie sheet size I think. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Then pull them out and try to flip. If they don't come up easily, pop them back in. Most of the time, MOST of the fries will release nicely with only some giving you trouble. I use my hands (impervious to heat), a spatula, whatever works. Melissa advises tongs. Tongs in my hands crush the fries, so I avoid them. Pop them back in for 10-15 minutes (check them at 10 and let them go until fully baked. They will never be as crispy as fried but they are the most respectable oven fry I've ever had.