What is a more gastronomically glorious pairing than char-grilled burgers and crispy, salty fries? Well, how about those crispy, salty fries covered with spicy, sweet or cheesy toppings then dipped in an enticing sauce? With outdoor barbecue season fast approaching – and burgers typically being the main course – wow your guests with a side dish of easy to prepare gourmet style French fries.
French fry basics
French fry the perfect potato.The most important part of the French fry is the potato. Russet potatoes are the best to use because they are large and not too waxy.
With French fries, size matters.The size and thickness of the fry is up to you, but if you slice the potato too thick, they will not crisp up properly and if they are too thin, they will fall apart. About 1/4-inch thick is the best size for the perfectly crispy fry.
To peel or not to peel.Starting with potatoes peeled or unpeeled is another personal decision. Keeping the skin on gives fries a more rustic appearance, an earthy flavor and more nutrients (the skin contains extra vitamins). However, peeling will not make French fries any less crisp or less flavorful. If you do decide to peel, chill cut fries in cold water for 10 to 30 minutes before frying for maximum crispiness.
Blanch the French fries before frying.Another important part of the frying process is blanching the fries before the final fry. This just means precooking the fries in oil preheated to 350 degrees F. for about three to five minutes, depending on the thickness (the thicker the fries, the longer the blanching). After blanching, let the fries cool to room temperature or refrigerate, then they can be finished with a quick fry of about 2 to 4 minutes.
The final fry.When frying, be sure not to over fill the basket. Also, be sure to always use hot, clean oil.
Oven baked French fries. Oven baking the fries is another tasty option, which will also develop crisp fries – without the fat of frying. Slice the potatoes to your desired thickness, soak them in cold water for 10 minutes, place them on a pan, drizzle with salt and a little oil if desired, and bake in a 450 degree F oven for 30 minutes, flipping a few times until crisped, cooked through and golden.
Gourmet French fry recipes
Classic French Fries
Makes 4 servings
Start with the classic recipe for French fries then gussy up fries with gourmet variations and delicious gourmet dipping sauces.
- 4 to 5 russet potatoes
- Oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- In a large Dutch oven, deep pot or deep fryer, heat about four to five inches of oil to 350 degrees F (use a kitchen thermometer).
- Peel potatoes, if desired, and slice into strips of desired thickness, about 1/4-inch thick. Submerge cut potatoes in a large bowl of cold water as you are slicing. Drain potatoes when ready to fry, making sure all water is drained.
- When oil reaches 350 degrees F., immerse the potatoes in the oil. Working in small batches, fry for 2 to 3 minutes until fries are pale and floppy. Take fries out of oil, drain, and cool to room temperature.
- Increase the temperature of the oil to 365 degrees F. Submerge fries in oil and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and drain on wire racks. Season with salt.
- Note: Keep cooked fries warm in a 200 degree F. oven while cooking other fries.
Parmesan Truffle Fries
After frying, toss the fries with grated Parmesan cheese, parsley, truffle oil, salt, and pepper.
Gorgonzola Tabasco Fries
Toss the cooked fries with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese in a skillet over medium heat. When ready to serve, drizzle them with Tabasco sauce.
Garlic Butter Fries
Toss cooked fries with melted butter and minced garlic in a frying pan over medium heat until all fries are coated.
Delicious gourmet dipping sauces
Combine wasabi powder or paste with mayonnaise. Be sure to start with a little wasabi and taste test as you blend –wasabi is very spicy.
Sun-dried Tomato Mayonnaise
Combine sun-dried tomatoes in oil with mayonnaise in a blender. Blend until fully combined.
Rosemary Garlic Mayonnaise
Combine minced rosemary, garlic and mayonnaise.
Mix prepared horseradish with mayonnaise. This is also spicy, so be sure to taste test.
Once you master the gourmet French fry, you can tell the frozen store-bought or fast-food fries goodbye. And the next time you have a barbecue or throw a party, make a gourmet French fry station. Make a large batch of classic French fries and let your hungry guests choose their own toppings and dipping sauces. The key to the best gourmet French fries is to simply be creative.