Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Cooking Lesson

This is a bit off topic, but maybe somebody who has worked in a kitchen can explain it to me.

While snowed in recently, I saw Alton Brown demonstrate how to make french fries. Like all of his processes, it's a bit elaborate, but I figured, what the heck, I'll try it.

Here's what you do. First, I cut a russet potato into full length strips, about 1/4" square. I left the peels on, they're the best part. Then I soaked them in water for a few minutes, which apparently dissolves some of the outer layer of starch and is considered an essential step. Put them on a rack and thoroughly dried them.

Next, a couple of minutes in relatively cool oil, 325 degrees. Take them out, let them drain and rest, then crank up the oil to 350. (Yes, you need a fat thermometer. I used canola oil, and a dutch oven, which is fine). Cook them till GB&D. Drain them and salt them.

They were great! Really crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, great potato flavor, non-greasy. But here's what's odd. They were actually much better than any fries I can remember getting in a restaurant, even a good one. Restaurant fries are typically limp, not really crisp, don't have that inside/outside textural contrast, and don't taste like potatoes. Why not? They're supposedly doing it professionally, and they should have the process down. But they don't.

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

That sounds like a great recipe. I like the idea of soaking the cut potatoes in water first. Reminds me of how I make potato latkes. Grate them and salt them, then let them sit for a bit, and then rinse and pour off the starch. Maybe that extra step of getting rid of the starch is the key to crispy goodness. Yum.