It’s the simple pleasures in life that matter most. And is there anything better than a good french fry? I’ve been on a quest to get to my optimal BMI for a few months now. Short people have it hard. One hundred fifty-some pounds is ridiculous. I’m getting closer. I see the finish line. But when I get close, I always seem to find a setback. We all have them.
For me, it’s the fry. I love french fries. The good Lord knows it. One day, a great poet will give the french fry its due.
Oh, how I love the fry, I hope I eat them until I cry. Or does die sound better? Poetry is not my strength. Rhyming really isn’t either.
When you’re on a dietary quest, you have to make those splurge moments truly count. Might as well enjoy the calories. It was time to cook the perfect french fry. To do anything great, you should find people who do it well and try to emulate them to a degree. If you want to be a best-selling author, go and talk with one. If you want to be the greatest salesperson in the world, model those folks to a degree but add your own spin. In my short little research project, I did the following:
- I love Five Guys. I haven’t had a burger there in years, but before starting the BMI challenge I was known to stop in for a french fry from time to time. Everyone needs a snack now and then. For me, it used to be a daily ritual of sorts. So, I asked them what they thought.
- I checked out multiple cookbooks. I’m a big Bobby Flay fan, and he has an entire tome dedicated to burgers and milkshakes. There is a pretty good french fry recipe to be found inside. Burgers, fries, and a shake is the last meal God intended us to have. I’m sure of it.
- I emailed Emeril and asked him too. His staff did email me back. Who knew gravy would taste so good on french fries? Cheese is a winner too.
- And I experimented. That’s the key in anything in life. Give it a go. If it doesn’t seem to work, try something else.
After all this work, this is what I came up with:
- Basically, the perfect french fry consists of a good potato. Ingredients are key. If possible, I like to know the person who grows my food. So, I can either go to the supermarket, ask for details on where the food was shipped in from, and travel a few hundred miles to a country far, far away. Or, I can go to a farmer’s market and introduce myself to the family who dug up the potato earlier in the week. It’s far easier and tastes better too.
- Cut up said great potatoes to your liking. I use a mandolin most of the time, but nothing beats the steak fry cut. A simple paring knife will do just fine. I also believe every french fry should be a little different. Makes them special somehow. Yeah, that’s bogus, but it is a great excuse for my poor knife work.
- Soak the potatoes in water for a few hours. Certain great chefs recommend adding sugar. This draws the starch out of the potato. I actually like to boil mine for a bit. When you fry to a golden brown, this will give the potato that soft center. I also like a little crunch to my fry.
- Find your oil of choice. I read a book called the Olive Wars a year or so back. It’s an amazing read that basically says most grocery oil is the equivalent of gasoline. It’s amazing what real Olive oil tastes like. My wife ended up finding a supplier of Macadamia Nut Oil. It’s also a high-heat oil (unlike olive oil), and you get the added benefit of having a nut-smelling house. If you’re curious, Five Guys uses Peanut Oil.
- Since I’ve taken the added step of boiling the potatoes, I heat the oil to 375 degrees. Some recommend starting at 325 degrees for a few minutes and finishing at a higher temperature. Both approaches work well.
- Prepare your sauce of choice. I like a mayonnaise/ketchup blend. It makes me recall the Glory Days of the Outback SteakHouse.
- Fry to a golden brown. And don’t forget to add sea salt (get the good stuff) when they come out of the fryer. That’s when they are most vulnerable. At least, that’s what some folks say.
Is this the perfect fry? You be the judge but put your own spin on it if the recipe doesn’t work for you. Or, try those from the greats noted below.
Best of luck.
Footnotes and Good stuff:
- Emeril’s Poutine Fries, Is there anything better than french fries and gravy?
- Cheese Fries, these bring back memories of the Outback Steakhouse during its glory years. In college, I used to order these for dinner (and their 1200 plus calorie greatness) and loved each and every one.
- Bar American French Fries, Bobby Flay is a Food Network mainstay. Does anyone remember Grillin’ and Chillin?
- Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, I love this cookbook. You have to love the milkshakes.
- Cuisinart CDF-100 Compact 1.1-Liter Deep Fryer, Brushed Stainless Steel, This is the fryer I use at home. I like to think it keeps me thin due to its compact nature. Nothing wrong with a big cast iron too.