Updated: Jun 5, 2021
How can you not like French Fries?... That is exactly what I asked Brian (a good friend of my'n) when we set down for a drink and were ready to order some snacks. I get it, in this new area we live in, where everyone is busy counting calories and carb intake, I wasn't that surprised, but I was still left astounded nontheless, when two guys were enjoying a couple of beers, ready todo some heavy liquor lifting. Then Brian started to explain how he doesn't like to eat frozen food,
and that he doesn't trust the oil the restaurants or bars use or how often they change it, nor does he like ketchup but prefers mayo, and a homemade aioli if available. Then, he shared he's concerns that aioli, made with fresh eggs, wouldn't be so fresh in a restaurant or bar, and how dangerous that would be to order. By then... I already lost my appetite to order fries at the bar we were at, but my thoughts sailed straight into my kitchen, where I envisioned the perfect, crispiest homemade French Fries, seasoned with Pimenton (smoked paprika) salt and drenched with zesty pickled lemon aioli.
This is our take on how to make the perfect French fries. So... let's do it!
French Fries Basics
Is it French?... I'm afraid not. French Fries are actually originated in Belgium (where they also speak French as one of two official national languages).
What potato varietal are best to use?... That depends on the where you are located on our lovely planet;
North America = Idao Potato (a.k.a Russet)
Europe = Maris Piper
India = Gujarat
Middle East = Santana
These are just a few options to a vary long list of around the world options
What are the best dimensions for a French Fry?... This question is both a matter of taste but of science as well. I prefer my fries slightly thick, and they also fry better. Therefore we recommend; W = ½" (1.25cm) L = 3" (7.62cm)
What type of oil is best to use? ... You're looking for a high smoking point oil, as the French fries need to be fried at above 375°F (190°C). Olive oil for instance has a low smoking and it is not suitable for frying at high heat. Peanut oil on the other hand has one of the highest smoking points and it is considered best for frying French Fries, but it can be abit costly, and we found that Canola frying oil do just fine for homemade French fries.
How Many times should we fry the potatoes?... To achieve a perfectly crispy browned fry, we must fry the potatoes twice and various temperatures. Here, also boil the potatoes first, which enhances the color and crispiness of the french fry, making it perfectly irresistible.
Now that we got the basics down... Let's do this...
For the Fries
3-4 Medium size Russet potatoes (or the best varietal in your area of living)
2 quarts (or 2 liter) Canola frying oil
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tsp Vinegar
For the Pickled Lemon Aioli
1 lemon peeled
1 egg yolk
2 cloves garlic peeled
½ Tsp pure can sugar
½ Tsp kosher salt
½ Tsp anchovy paste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup (240g) neutral oil (I use Grapeseed)
Wash the potatoes in cold water removing any dirt, then peel the skin off
Cut potatoes length wise into ½" thick slices
Flatten potato slices then cut into ½" thick sticks
Place Potato sticks in a bowl filled with cold water (prevent oxidation).
Boil the potatoes
Heat up a mid size pot with 2 quarts water
Add salt and vinegar and dissolve (The vinegar prevents the potatoes from breaking)
Once boiling, add potatoes and boil covered for 10 minutes
Remove from water and let potato sticks steam dry
The potatoes must be dry before frying! any water drips can cause a very bad and dangerous reaction when come in contact with boiling Hot oil
Heat up a mid size pot with 2 quarts canola oil.
Use a thermometer to carefully gage the temperature until it reaches 277°F (136°C)
Carefully add the potatoes and fry in batches (not overcrowding the pot)
Fry the potatoes for 12-15minutes or until just starting to change color.
We do not want the fries to get crispy at this stage, but only to par fry them.
Remove fries and place over tray with a wire rack (this allows the air to circulate around the fry and cool down without steaming)
Place tray in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for 30 minutes or upto 1 hour
Peel one lemon, making sure not to include the white bitter rind.
Then julienne the lemon peel into evenly thin strips and transfer into a bowl.
Add 1Tsp kosher salt and 1 Tsp pure cane sugar. Mix well, then set aside to rest for about 15-20 min.
To a 1 cup of neutral oil, (I use grapeseed but you can use any other neutral oil) add 1 egg yolk.
Add the pickled lemon peel which should be rinsed of the salt and sugar, dried and minced.
Add 1 Tbs filtered water.
And 2 garlic cloves, minced.
And my little 'secret weapon, ½ Tsp anchovy paste, which will add a ton of umami.
Insert the blender head all the way to the bottom of the cup, use your other hand to secure the cup, then slowwwwwly rise it up to the top, until the oil is emulsified.
This recipe calls for an immersion blende. If you don’t have one, no worries, I got you! see below instructions using a blender or food processor;
If you do not have an immersion blender, then using a food processor of blender (on low speed) combine all the ingredients except for the oil. While the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Heat up a mid size pot with 2 quarts canola oil.
Use a thermometer to carefully gage the temperature until it reaches 375°F (190°C)
Remove fries from freezer (or fridge). Pat dry removing any access water and carefully add to the oil in batches (preventing overcrowding the pot)
The 2nd frying stage is quick and the fries should be done within 3-5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon or spider, turn the fries in the oil making sure they are crisping up, getting that brown golden color.
Removed from oil onto a tray lined with paper towel.
Season with salt while hot.
Arranged on a plate with the pickled lemon aioli, and watch as they disappear in seconds infront of your very own eyes.
Link to Video Recipe