Home made French fries are not only delicious, but making them at home gives you the chance to do them your way.
For example, you can peel the potatoes, or leave the peel on. After they are done you can season them with salt, or seasoned salt, or pepper, paprika, chile powder, Emeril’s Essence, Lawrey’s Seasoned Salt, or this or that and on and on. Or cover them with chili and beans or nacho sauce. Or melted cheese. Live it up!
You can also chop and fry them, or fry them twice, or, as I prefer, chop them, boil them, and then fry them. I also do that with home made potato chips. I can find examples of all of these methods, even in the fast food industry. So experiment and see what you like.
Here’s a starting point. First of all, I like to leave the skins on. Not only tastes good, but more vitamins and minerals that way. Also easier….
If you have a French fry cutter, it’s even easier. If you don’t, just slice the spud every 1/4 or so inch lengthwise, and then do the same the other direction. I recommend throwing the pieces in a colander as you cut them, and rinsing them off under running water. Or if you want to try the 30 minute soak method, dump them in a bowl of cold water, swish them around and change the water two or three times during the soaking period. You can also add a few tablespoons of sugar in the soaking water to add extra crunch to the fries, if you want to. If you have other fancy cutters, you can make wavy fries, too. (There’s a French name for these fries that I can’t remember, and if I ever see it again, I’ll let you know.)
If you parboil them after cutting, just boil them for a few minutes so they don’t get too done. That will make them too soft for handling. I boil them just until I can smell the cooked potato smell, and by stirring them you can tell they are still rare enough to not fall apart. If you parboil them, you only fry them once.
In any case, drain and dry them (either air dry or use paper towels) before frying or you’ll have oil splattering all over yourself and your kitchen. Always introduce food into hot oil gently until you see how much bubbling there is going to be.
What kind of oil? I usually use peanut oil. Canola oil sometimes smells a little fishy to me, but if you like it that’s OK too. If allergies for you or a possible guest might be a consideration, don’t use peanut oil. Don’t use olive oil either; save it for flavorful dressings and sautéed foods. Peanut oil has a higher smoking temperature, so you can use it up to 400 degrees. I use peanut oil in my deep fryer, so I use a separate pot with corn oil if my guests might be allergic to peanuts. Peanut oil is also often used for oriental cooking.
If frying twice, heat the oil in either your skillet, pot, or deep fryer to 325 degrees, and fry the spuds, in batches if necessary, for about three to five minutes. Let them drain.
Then heat the oil on up to 375 degrees, and fry them again for three to five minutes. I think the reason for pre-frying is so they don’t get so dark as they do if you fry them only once at the higher temperature. But try both methods if you want and see what you like. Some people like “blonder” fries and some like dark and crispy. Hey, they’re your fries. Make ’em the way you want….