Saturday, June 18, 2011

Perfectly crisp, through and through

Being of the health food eating kind, never craving junk food, I do have one exception, you probably do too - fries. It's not just the kids with this one, mom and dad have cravings just the same! Having home fries is, sadly, never the same, we miss out on those gorgeous crunchy outsides. Home fries certainly are not a substitute, they are, in my opinion, an entirely different food.
Then comes an a-ha moment... while watching Food TV with my very interested 7 year old daughter, who replaced mindless kid's shows with Discovery Channel and Food Network (my heart gets all fuzzy and warm thinking of this).
I've made home fries countless times. I've read many a recipe. None share these easy, vital steps that make ALL the difference. Are you ready for this? It's simpler than you might think... (seems all things in simple form somehow come out on top, doesn't it?) Here it goes:
After cutting scrubbed but unpeeled Russet potatoes into even sized wedges, put them into a bowl of cold water, drain and rinse, repeating until the water goes from milky to clear. You have now washed off excess starch. Step two: place the wedges on a clean dish towel, and dry thoroughly.
That's it.

Place the wedges in a dry bowl, drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over them, about 1 for every large Russet potato. Add a few pinches of sweet paprika, kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat the wedges evenly. Put them on parchment lined cookie sheets, spread apart so steam can evaporate, rather than make the wedges soft. Bake in a 425 F oven for about 40 minutes, until tender inside and crispy outside. I use two cookie sheets since I make a huge amount for my fry loving family, rotating them top to bottom halfway through the cooking time.

Remove from the oven and hit them with a little steak spice to kick it up a notch, or coarse salt if you prefer.

And when bikini season comes to a close, I figure we'll dress the fries up a bit, piling them high in a round casserole dish, adding a good covering of Monterey Jack cheese and bacon bits, then melting the cheese under the broiler for a minute or two. Pretty it up with chopped green onions - all males in your house will love you just a bit more that day!

Inspired by Chuck Hughes

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