No deep fryer needed for crispy, delicious fries!
While I do own a very nice deep fryer, I have to confess it doesn’t leave its cozy cupboard that often. It’s a bit of a hassle to clean and when I use it, I find it somewhat vexing to have my house – not to mention my clothes and hair – infested with a telltale oily smell that lingers for many hours afterwards. As a result, I’m often experimenting with ways to make oven-baked versions of my favourite deep fried goodies. I’m very happy with my wonton crisps and sweet potato fries, and I’ve also developed an impossibly delicious baked doughnut recipe. Now, I am delighted to present a sure-fire way to make crispy, perfectly-cooked French fries in your oven. I have to confess that the experimentation that led to this awesome recipe was inspired by a snippet I heard on CBC Radio one day, discussing the science of French fry making. It has proven to be a game changer for me; you can read all about it here.
For the best oven-baked fries, parboiling them in a water and vinegar solution prior to baking them is the secret to making them as crispy as though they’d been deep fried.
- 3 medium Russet potatoes (about 2 lbs/1 kg total weight)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar
- 2 – 3 tablespoons (30 – 45 mL) of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) sea salt
- Wash the potatoes well and cut into uniform sticks about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
- Put the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Add the vinegar.
- Bring the pot to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Drain carefully using a sieve or colander. Spread the potatoes out on paper towel to absorb moisture, then put then on a wire rack in a single layer to allow them to dry completely, for at least 30 minutes (refrigerate the potato-filled rack if drying for longer).
- Preheat oven to 435F.
- Put dried potatoes in a bowl then drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to gently turn them over and over so each piece is thoroughly coated.
- Put the fries on a large baking sheet, again in a single layer.
- Bake 10 minutes then turn the fries over.
- Bake an additional 15 – 20 minutes, until uniformly golden brown.
- Transfer fries to a paper towel-lined basket and jostle them gently to shake excess oil onto the paper towel.
- Season with salt (or other spices, as desired) and serve hot.