When it comes to food, sometimes the simplest foods are the hardest to master, that’s why we went looking for the perfect french fry. It needed to have a perfectly crisp exterior, a fluffy interior. Most of all, the strong potato flavor should be retained. The best fry won’t be soggy and pasty by the time you’re done with your burger.
It turns out the secret is first poaching the fries in a pan with water, vinegar, and salt to make them nice and tender before frying them in oil that should be about 400F. The addition of the vinegar helped keep the potatoes nice and firm so they wouldn’t be too soggy or mushy after being fried. The second tip is to fry them twice. The first time should simply be for 50 seconds, then the second fry should be for about 3 1/2 minutes. This seems like an odd extra step, but perfection demands no less! Keep reading below for the recipe for these perfect fries!
Photo courtesy Flickr user Keith McDuffee
Perfect French Fries
Yields: About 4 servings
- 2lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4″ by 1/4″ fries. Store the uncooked fries in a bowl of water until needed.
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- kosher salt
- 2 quarts peanut oil
- Put the potatoes in the saucepan, and pour the vinegar over. Add 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons salt Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, then spread the potatoes on a paper-towel-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Let dry for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large wok over high heat until the oil reaches 400F. Add 1/3 of the fries to the oil and cook for 50 seconds, poking at the potatoes with a wire mesh spider to keep them moving. Remove the potatoes to a second lined, rimmed baking sheet. Allow the temperature to reach 400F again, then repeat the process with another 1/3 of the potatoes, and repeat one last time once the oil reaches temperature again.
- Let the potatoes cool about 30 minutes, or until they reach room temperature.
- Return the oil to 400F, then fry half the potatoes until golden brown and crisp (about 3 1/3 minutes), making sure the oil stays at 360F while the potatoes are cooking.
- Drain the potatoes in a bowl lined with paper towels and season immediately (I like salt and pepper, personally, but try experimenting by adding other spices like rosemary!). Repeat with the remaining fries, then serve immediately.