Steve told me he was in the mood for some fried taters. We have made fries at home before but they were mediocre at best, so I hit the web in search of a recipe that actually produced crispy fries. I found one that originated from The Cooks Illustrated test kitchens. But what they were saying didn't make sense; put the fries in cold oil, then heat the oil and the potatoes together. Couldn't be. The search continued. I then saw the potatoes in the cold oil method again on a different blog. I decided it was worth a shot but convincing Steve was a challenge. I finally got him to agree and the worst part of it all was that the instructions said to put the fries in the cold oil, turn on the heat and not touch the fries for about 20 minutes. We both stood over the hot oil for the entire 20 minutes, each armed with tongs, absolutely dying to poke at the taters!
Bottom line: Do exactly as I tell you, because they were AWESOME FRIES!
Awesome Fried Taters
2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold (have to be Yukon's because they have the starch content you need) potatoes (about 4-5 large potatoes)
6 cups peanut oil (Cooks says peanut, we only had vegetable oil and they still turned out great)
kosher salt or sea salt (I wonder how Lawry's salt would taste!)
Line a large plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Scrub, rinse, pat to dry and cut up your taters into about quarter inch pieces.
Put a heavy-bottomed pot on the stove, pour in the oil, then drop in the fries, making sure they are all totally submerged. Now, turn on the heat to high. Do not touch the fries. It should take about 5 minutes the oil to come to a boil and then you leave them untouched in the oil for about 15 minutes longer! A couple fries will start to float and they will look slightly browned and now you can take your tongs and jostle them. Give a stir with your tongs to loosen them up and make sure none are sticking. Keep frying, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so until they are golden brown and appear crispy. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined plate, salting them immediately.
This is my version of a Cooks Illustrated's recipe, one of my favorite recipe sources. I adapted it after I found it on The Hungry Mouse blog. Thanks to Hungry Mouse for convincing me to try this recipe. I do believe I will be subscribing to Cooks Illustrated! I love how they try to make the same thing many different ways, scientifically analyzing everything, to come up with the perfect recipe!