It really isn’t that hard to make yourself some homemade french fries, or pommes frites as they are affectionately called. Some restaurants devote themselves solely to this absolutely amazing, easy-to-do masterpiece. I spent years of trying these crispy potato strips from God, and they are one of my favorite snacks or side dishes on earth. I cannot imagine in 20 years a restaurant of any caliber not taking the extra time to prepare pommes frites.
My first experience with frites was actually in culinary school. It was the first time I really looked at the cooking process of making frites as something that needed care, attention to detail and a steady hand to get absolute perfection and the crispiest fry you will ever have. It was ingrained in my brain by my first French instructor, Chef Martini, that making this simple dish was the basis for becoming a great chef. I thought, “It’s just a french fry.” No no no, It’s so much more than that. It’s almost life-changing.
I have had my fair share of frites all over the country. Some I have had were good, others I have had were not so good, and many you can tell did not go through the double-cooking process. Then there are others that, I was told, hit the oil three different times. Some use chef potatoes; others use russets. But one frite that I had, that I knew used the right potato, cooked twice, in the exact temperature, for the exact amount of time, is Balthazar in NYC.
Balthazar is far from my favorite restaurant I have ever dined at, but I never had a better frite in my life. Crispy, perfectly brown and delicious. This is a fry that needs no ketchup, no sauce, no dipping substance at all. But if you find the need to dip your crispy fried perfection into something, why not try their house-made mayo? The salty crispy fry, in the creamy, fatty, garlicky aioli is the absolute perfect combination.
0r (French fries)
4 chefs (russet) potatoes, cut into sticks
4 cups oil.
Heat oil to 250 degrees. Blanch potatoes fo seven minutes. Remove and place on paper towel. Chill up to two days. When ready to eat, heat same oil to 350 and fry for seven minutes. This will make the most perfect fry.
Season with sea salt.
1/2 cup of your favorite mayo
Juice from half a lemon
pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon.
Blend all ingredients together and use as a dipping sauce for your french fries.