2 pounds potatoes; see * Note
Vegetable oil; for frying
Fine sea salt; to taste
* Note: Bintjes potatoes are preferred. Bintjes potatoes are ideal for frites, as they hold their shape and do not turn floury when fried, Idaho work almost as well.
Peel potatoes and sliced lengthwise into 1/3- by 1/3- by 2 1/2-inch sticks. Soak potatoes in cold water and cover for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Drain, and pat dry.
Heat 3 inches oil in a large stockpot to 275 to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with paper towels. Blanch potatoes in small batches without crowding, turning occasionally, until completely cooked but barely colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to one of the prepared baking sheets to drain in a single layer.
Increase oil temperature to 350 to 360 degrees. Fry potatoes in small batches, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.
This recipe yields 4 servings.
Legend has it that the french fry was invented not by the French, but by a group of Belgian peasants in the seventeenth century. During an especially brutal winter, the river that was their main source of sustenance froze, making fishing impossible. In lieu of the real thing, these creative folk took to carving potatoes into fish shapes and frying them.
The American term “french fry” is derived not from a mistaken French origin — the French call them pommes frites — but from the fact that they are “frenched,” or cut lengthwise into strips.
The method of twice-frying potatoes is also attributed to Belgium, where, in the mid-nineteenth century, a famous Belgian cook named Cauderlier recorded a process he called “double friture,” in which the potato strips are first blanched in vegetable oil to cook the insides, then left to cool completely, and fried again at a much higher temperature to crisp the outsides and give them a rich golden color.
Belgians are passionate about these frites, which are commonly sold in small shops along city streets and served in paper cones with a sprinkling of salt and a generous dollop of mayonnaise.
Source: Recipe originally from Martha Stewart Living – Lynn Thomas on the Food Forum BB – corrections by Diana van den Broek.