Wednesday, April 15, 2009
did you think I was kidding about having fries for Easter?
because i wasn't kidding!
were they worth the wait? oh you bet.
we were in the Raleigh area visiting the boy's sister and her family over Easter weekend. i thought they would think i was nuts for wanting fries as part of our Easter dinner, but they played along with my game. anyway, they didn't complain once they tasted them.
cooking good fries (good = the way i like them) means three things:
first, a long soak in water.
second, a long cook in low temperature oil.
third, a quick fry in hot oil, topped by copious amounts of kosher salt.
you can use the special blades that come along with your mandoline to cut the potatoes into matchstick form, or you can easily do this with a knife. i prefer my fries to be on the somewhat skinny side, but cut yours into however thickness you'd like.
i'm very bad at gauging how many potatoes to use per person. if you pick larger sized Yukon, you will be surprised by how many fries one potato can yield. i peel and cut one potato at a time, that way i don't end up with too many fries, although it's a good thing that potatoes are cheap and that people love fries because they usually all end up being eaten.
Yukon gold potatoes
a good amount of peanut or canola oil
1. fill a bowl with cold water and set to the side. cut the potatoes into the size of fry you like best, and add these to the cold water. let fries sit in the cold water for a good long time. do this several hours ahead of time.
2. when ready to start cooking, preheat your oil in deep fryer or large heavy bottomed pot (like a cast iron Le Creuset type) to 280 degrees F.
3. drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. fry in small batches for around 6 minutes until the fries become opaque whitish. dump each batch out onto a cookie sheet, and try to spread them out a bit so that they dont all pile up together. repeat with the rest of the potatoes.
4. when done with all the potatoes, turn the oil up to 375 degrees F. frying in small batches and starting with the first (oldest) ones, cook for about 3 minutes until golden brown. immediately dump the fries into a paper towel lined bowl and shake them around with the paper towels to blot some of the oil. dust liberally with salt. cover with another paper towel while you finish frying the remaining potatoes, if you can manage to not eat them all while waiting, that is. i immediately dug in, seeing as i'd not had any since Mardi Gras, and let me tell you that they were the best fries i've ever had.
they take a while to make from start to finish, but they are well worth it.
we served these along with other sides, like sauteed broccolini, brussel sprouts with bacon, gratin dauphinois (who said too many potatoes are a bad thing?), and a ham.
ah, the ham was a glorious thing. we bought a spiral sliced pre-cooked one and made our own glaze. the boy ususally throws out the packet of "glaze" which comes with hams and makes his own, recipe based on the one that the HoneyBaked Ham© people make. you can Google "honeybaked ham glaze" and find all kinds of variations of it. the one we use is:
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground allspice
1. mix all these in a bowl and set aside until ready to use.
2. place the ham on top of tin foil lined countertop. dump the glaze ingredients into a sieve and slowly coat the ham while blowtorching a nice caramely sheen onto it. place ham in roasting pan and cook according to the directions that came with it.
by "blowtorch" i dont mean one of those dinky creme brulée jobs that one can buy at Williams-Sonoma for an arm and a leg. what, you don't have a blowtorch? why the hell not? they are fantastic to have around. you can get one for cheap at Home Depot. you never know when you need one handy, and they're great for fighting off intruders as well.
and you think i'm kidding.