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The secrets to success with French fries are drying the potatoes well before frying, keeping the oil at a constant temperature and not crowding the pan or covering it. If you plan to make these without an electric deep fryer, be sure you have a large, heavy-bottomed pan, a flat wire skimmer and a deep-fat frying thermometer. For country-style French fries, scrub the potatoes well but leave their skins on.
- 3 pounds baking potatoes, each about 4-inches long
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Peel the potatoes, if desired, and cut them lengthwise into slices 3/8-inch wide. Then cut each slice lengthwise into strips 3/8-inch wide. Place in a large bowl, add water to cover and let stand for 5 minutes to remove excess starch.
Pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches in a deep-fat fryer or heavy saucepan and heat to 330 degrees F, checking the temperature on the built-in thermometer or with a handheld deep-fat frying thermometer.
Line trays with paper towels. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. If using a deep-fat fryer, immerse the basket briefly in the oil to prevent the potatoes from sticking to it. Place 2 handfuls of the potatoes into the basket or onto a wire skimmer and lower it into the oil. (The oil will expand to cover the potatoes.) Fry until the potatoes are pale yellow but have not yet started to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Raise the basket or remove the potatoes with the skimmer, drain for a moment over the pan and transfer to paper towel-lined trays to drain for 10 minutes or for up to 2 hours. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, always returning the oil to the correct temperature before frying the next batch.
Just before serving the fries, line additional trays with paper towels and reheat the oil to a temperature of 370 degrees F. Fry the potatoes again, in batches, until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the basket or skimmer for a moment, then turn out the potatoes onto the towel-lined trays.
Place the French fries in a serving bowl or basket, season to taste with salt, rosemary or seasoning of choice and serve immediately.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.
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