(I’m combining this post with my weekly Thursday Thirteen, if you were just here to see the TT, scroll to the bottom of the post.)
As foodies we are sometimes driven to try the most recent trend in foods. To go after more exotic ingredients and preparation methods. To push our cooking skills and palate’s further than they have ever gone before. All of these are good things and make for a very interesting culinary life. Food should never be boring, after all.
While I subscribe to the concepts mentioned above, there are still times I when just want a really good French Fry, and yesterday was one of those days.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t liked fast food french fries in a very long time. Most are nothing more than overcooked, greasy little processed things that don’t do anything at all for me, other than perhaps cause a case of indigestion later. On the other hand, I rarely turn down the opportunity to indulge in a homemade fry, whether I’m the one making it or not, making fries one of the things I almost never order in a restaurant. I’ll take mine my way, thank you.
I prefer to make fries in a cast iron skillet rather than in a deep pan or heavy dutch oven for several reasons. One, the oil heats much more quickly in a heavy shallow pan. Two, it cools more quickly when the heat is lowered because of greater surface/air ratios. Three, It’s a lot harder to crowd the pan, which allows me to see each and every item that I’m frying while keeping my temperatures constant. Taking out the guess work is a good thing, as it means that you won’t end up with greasy food.
(Read the bottom of the post to see the thirteen things I will almost never order out)
- Potatoes, cut in 8 wedge shaped pieces (Figure 2 per person as a side)
- Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Sea Salt
- Garlic Powder
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable or Peanut Oil for frying.
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a very heavy skillet. (Be sure never to fill the skillet more than 60% of the way full. Oil expands when heated and you don’t want it boiling over!) When oil is just shimmering (Approximately 370°F), add 2 potatoes worth of the potato wedges. Cook over medium to medium high heat for approximately 4 minutes per side, checking often for doneness.
- Remove cooked wedges from oil with a spider or slotted spoon and place on a brown paper bag to drain excess oil. Immediately sprinkle with Sea Salt and Parmesan cheese.
- Continue cooking potatoes in batches. If desired, place the paper bag on a cookie sheet and store wedges in a 200 degree oven in between batches to keep wedges warm.
- Sprinkle over a little more Parmesan after plating. Serve hot and enjoy!
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
Nuffin. Nuffin at all!
Thirteen Things I (almost) never order in a restaurant
- As this post already attests, French Fries, with the exception of Curly Fries, which are by definition a different animal altogether.)
- Oysters. (Bad experiences have taught me a lesson, I’ll cook my own, thanks)
- Fried Chicken. (My wife’s is perfection, there’s no reason to pay someone for it.)
- Fettuccine Alfredo (Most restaurants just can’t get this dish right for some reason.)
- Macaroni and Cheese (Why in the WORLD would I pay someone 8 bucks For mac and Cheese?)
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (see above… Besides, mine are better)
- 99% of anything labeled “California Style” (Just adding bean sprouts or Avacado does not California make, people!)
- Chili. (Chili is a labor of love, or it should be. If it isn’t, I’m not buyin!)
- Sweet Barbecue. (Shudder!)
- Wings. (I’m not usually a fan of other peoples. There are a few limited exceptions)
- Anything with anchovies. (The exception to this might be at any of Mario Batali’s Restaurants, and does not hold true for Caesar Salads.)
- anything with a warning label! (I’m adventurous, but the thought of a chef having hiccups while slicing blowfish scares the crap out of me!)
- Dessert. (I can’t remember the last time I ordered a dessert, though there must be one somewhere. My wife and I both prefer savory over sweet, so I don’t miss it at all.)
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