My boys LOVE those paper bags filled with hot, crispy, salted french fries from our local hamburger joint and I must admit, so do I! Really, who doesn’t?! What I don’t like is thinking about how horrible those greasy fries are for our health. It puts major damper on the enjoyment for me, so I started playing around with making a healthier version myself. My first attempt to make baked fries for my family ended up being limp and soggy. Yuk–no one was impressed! Thankfully, through some trial and error (many recipes tried) I have found the secrets to baked french fries that are CRUNCHY and CRISPY like we love with a fraction of the fat and calories of the deep fried variety.
Secrets to the Perfect BAKED French Fry:
1-CUT the potatoes into thin fries.
2-SOAK and rinse them to remove some of the starch.
3 HEAT! The oven needs to be hot –even helps to preheat the pan so the potatoes sizzle and start crisping up right away.
Crispy Baked French Fries
submitted by Melanie~The Sisters Cafe
4 medium, Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean–I like to keep the skins on, but you could peel if desired
3 tablespoons grapeseed, canola, peanut, or vegetable oil
Salt or seasoned salt is good–we like Johnny’s
1-2 minced garlic if desired
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick matchsticks: (1) Make a slice along the length of the potato so that it will stand flat on a cutting board; (2) With the potato sitting flat, carefully slice it into broad, 1/4-inch thick discs; (3) Arrange 2 or 3 discs on top of each other and slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch matchsticks. Place the cut fries into a bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for at least 15 minutes, as the oven preheats.
3. Drain the potatoes, then cover with cold water once more and drain again. Layer the baking sheet with a kitchen towel or a few layers of paper towels, then spread the drained potatoes on top in a single layer. Gently blot the cut fries dry, aiming to soak up as much water as possible. Dry out the mixing bowl the fries had been in and then return them to it. Toss with the oil, several big pinches of salt and garlic if using.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the hot baking sheet (carefully it will be HOT) from the oven and place it on a heat-safe workspace. Pour a splash of oil on it, distributing it haphazardly by tilting the baking sheet back and forth. Add the fries (stand back; it will sizzle), and quickly arrange in a single layer. Transfer to the oven and bake until crisp and browned, about 40 minutes, checking every 15 minutes to toss them with a spatula. Before serving, add additional salt. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
**If you are nervous about preheating the pan and the splatters that may result–you can skip that step and just spray cooking spray or brush with oil a cold pan and continue on. Sometimes I do, especially when my little boys want to help. It may not be as perfect, you will still get those crispy fries, don’t worry!
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Lukas Volgers Veggie Madness