Last week I told you I had a couple of sandwich recipes to share before the weekend of the Big Game, but before I get to sandwich number two (it's a Chicago classic), I want to share with you the must have side dish to that sandwich.
Unlike the conventional twice fried method for frying potatoes, this method starts with cold oil. I couldn't believe it myself when I first read it, but it really does work. The fries turn out golden and crispy. And the good news-- less oil is absorbed. Low fat fries? Yes, please! The other great point to this recipe is that the potatoes all fry at once. No batch after batch hassle. So while your potatoes are frying, you can finish last minute dinner prep. As soon as the potatoes are done, dinner is served.
I like to use a mandoline to cut my potatoes in even batons, but you can do this by hand. Square off the sides of the potato, cut lengthwise in 1/4-inch slices, then cut lengthwise again into 1/4 inch batons.
The original recipe added a little bacon fat for a meaty flavor, but I like to take a cue from Chicagoan Doug Sloan of Hot Doug's and use a little duck fat in my fries. It adds a real je ne sais quois. Most normal people (I am not normal) probably don't render their own duck fat. You also may not have a wonderful aunt that finds jarred duck fat and sends you some for Christmas (Thanks, Aunt Fran!). So it is of course optional, but really good.
I must add one note, as long as you are not going for presentation points at the table. Once drained and seasoned on the paper towel, transfer the potatoes to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet and bring this to the table. That way the potatoes will stay crisp longer. I find that piling them on a plate or leaving them on the paper towel causes the potatoes to become limp quickly. But, they will still be good!
Now, about that sandwich...Printable Recipe
Easier French Fries
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed, dried, and cut into 1/4-inch by 1/4 inch batons
6 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup duck fat (optional)
In a large dutch oven combine the potatoes, oil, and duck fat (if using). Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the oil has reached a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 15 minutes.
Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick to the bottom of the pan, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden and crisp, about 5-10 minutes longer. Transfer fries to a paper towel lined paper bag and season with salt. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Source: Cook's Illustrated, July 2009