Are fries really French? Of course!! Well, before I get the French involved, it is the good folks from Belgium who claim the fry as their culinary invention. But I’d like to think that just maybe a French housewife made these in Belgium one lovely day. In case you didn’t know there is a huge French community (a little under 50%). So let’s have fun in making a Belgium fry. Just kidding. No really- a Belguim/French Fry.
So let me ask? Who makes frites at home anymore? Why not just go to a drive-thru and get them at McD…if you must. Or, try the version I will show you. I vow that you will find these far superior to the American “freedom” fry. Freedom fry? Yes, there was a time when Americans did not want to have anything to do with the French-even foods with the name “french” in them-and can you believe that was just a few years ago- the Iraq War, hence the name “Freedom Fries” showed up on menus. Is it any wonder the French think less of us Americans at times? Is there an unwritten rule somewhere not to mix politics and food? OOPS.
These Frites are based out of the famous Les Halles restaurant in Paris -Chef Anthony Bourdain. He is all serious business when it comes to making the fry. We ate them up real fast with a nice steak. Sounding good huh? I don’t think you can get steak and pommes frites at your local McD…
Do not try and do this at the last minute and thinking they will be done in 10. This is a serious process. Respect the fry and the French AND taste the reward.
Les Halles Frites Serves 4
- 4 Idaho potatoes, big, long ones
- 2 quarts/2.25 liters or more peanut oil to fill fryer (or pot)
- Table salt
STEP ONE: PREP
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Peel the potatoes and cut them into ½-inch- (1-cm-) thick sticks. Put them immediately into the bowl of ice water to keep them from oxidizing. Leave them in the water anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight, then rinse well in cold water to take out much of the starch.
STEP TWO: BLANCH
In a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil to 280°F (140°C). Cook the potatoes in batches, about 6 to 8 minutes for each batch, until they are soft and their color has paled from opaque white to a semitranslucent white. Do not get impatient and yank them out early. Remove them from the oil with the skimmer or wire basket and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Let them rest at least 15 minutes.
STEP THREE: FRY
Bring the oil up to 375°F (190°C). No hotter, no cooler. Fry the blanched potatoes in batches for 2 to 3 minutes each, or until they are crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oil with the skimmer or wire basket, shake off the excess oil, and…
STEP FOUR: SERVE
…immediately drop the fries into the other large bowl, which has been lined with a clean, dry towel. Add salt to taste and whip out the towel. Toss the fries around in the bowl and serve while still hot.
2 large bowls
Deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot
Skimmer or wire basket (if using a pot)