Oven Fries

It’s around this time of year when Shane and I really start looking forward to grilling for the first time.  There were a few days last week that were probably warm enough to justify it, but we already had other (not grill friendly) meals planned.  I’m holding out hope we’ll be out there at least once by the first week of April.  In the meantime, I’ve been bookmarking tons of new recipes to try.  As excited as I am about making those meals, the go-to grill option here has always been burgers, and I don’t imagine that’ll change anytime soon. 

Fries

When I think burgers, I think fries.  They’re like peanut butter and jelly – they belong together!  In past years, we’ve rarely eaten french fries because we didn’t have a good recipe for baked fries, and frying just isn’t practical for a whole host of reasons.  I was determined to change that this summer and began a quest for the perfect baked fries.  There were more than a few failed attempts along the way including way too many soggy fries – ick!  Finally, I came across this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and hit the jackpot.  These baked fries are just what I was looking for – golden and crisp on the outside and soft inside.  The recipe’s easy too, with just one extra step you may not have seen in other recipes – soaking the wedges in hot water before baking them.  We devoured these fries in record time and I can’t wait to enjoy them again with the first grilled burgers of the season :) 

Oven Fries
from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

3 russet potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 F with a rack in the lowest position.

To cut the potatoes into wedges:  Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then cut each of those halves in half lengthwise so you end up with each potato quartered.  Slice each quarter into 2 or 3 wedges (lengthwise again), depending on how thick you want your fries.

Add all of the wedges to a large bowl and cover with hot water.  Set aside for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, grab a large rimmed baking sheet and coat it with 1/4 cup of the canola oil.  Tilt the pan to ensure the oil is spread in an even layer.  Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the oil evenly.

Drain the potatoes and spread them over a dishtowel or layer of paper towels.  Dry them thoroughly.  Dry the bowl the potatoes were soaking in, and then add the wedges back to the bowl.  Toss them with the remaining teaspoon of canola oil.  Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet and spread them in a single layer.  Cover the pan with foil.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven and flip each of the wedges over.  Return to the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes longer, or until golden and crisp.  Drain the fries on a paper towel-lined plate then season with salt and pepper to taste.