From “Steak Frites” in The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book
- 2 ½ lb russet potatoes
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 3 qt peanut oil
- Salt for seasoning
- Square off the sides of the potatoes, then cut them into ¼” sticks.
Note: Cutting the potatoes to a ¼” cross-section results in an optimal crust-to-filling ratio in our finished fries.
- Put the cut potatoes in a bowl with lots of cold water to soak for 30 minutes, agitating them from time to time. We used a TimeStick® to monitor the time.
- While you wait, prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with brown paper of a triple layer of paper towels.
- Drain the potatoes and dry them as well as you can.
- Toss with cornstarch to coat and place on a wire rack until the starch dries out and forms a white film over the potatoes (~20 min).
- Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot.
- Use a pot-clip to attach your ChefAlarm probe to the side of the pot and set the high alarm for 325°F (163°C).
- When the fries are dried and the oil is at temp, carefully put the potatoes in the oil by handfuls, cooking about half the batch at a time.
- Turn the heat to high. (Adding the fries will decrease the oil temperature by nearly 75°F (42°C). Adding too many at a time will reduce the heat even more and necessitate an even longer recovery period. This can lead to oil-soaked fries. Take the time to do it in batches.)
- Cook the french fries for 4-5 minutes (keep track on your TimeStick), or until they start to turn blond. Remove from the oil and transfer them to a prepared cookie sheet.
- Bring the oil back up to 325°F (163°C) and cook the remaining potatoes in the same way.
- Let the potatoes rest at least 10 minutes while you bring the oil up to 375°F (191°C). Be sure to set the new target temperature on your ChefAlarm.
- Once the oil is at temp, put the french fries in the oil, again by handfuls, and again only about half of them.
- Give them a stir, and cook until they are golden brown, crispy and delicious—about 3 minutes.
- Transfer to clean brown paper or paper towels.
- Salt immediately and enjoy!