Fried foods are not part of my current diet, although I have eaten a French fry or two along the trail. No, I don’t eat fried foods mainly for all the so-called health reasons, and to achieve that perfect fried dish at home requires the right kitchen equipment I simply don’t have or want. Not to mention dealing with large amounts of hot oil and a viable way of disposing it once done can present its challenges.
However, there is something unmistakenly good about the taste of well-prepared fried food: French fries, for example. I often accompany some main dishes with crispy oven-roasted potatoes, either gold or sweet, plain or seasoned with either herb or spice. So why not oven-roasted French fries?
After some initial experimenting I settled on the approach I am sharing in this post. Just three ingredients: Yukon gold potatoes, olive oil, and either salt and pepper or perhaps your favorite dry spice mix.
I chose the Yukon gold potatoes over the more classically used russet potatoes in deep frying because I learned that the oven-roasted fries achieved a tender, creamy texture inside surrounded by a crisp exterior surface. The russet potatoes were just too mealy when roasted. The creamy texture was the ultimate result I was after, although deep-frying will yield a more evenly browned finish. Looks, in this case, aren’t everything!
My preference is to dust the potato slices with one of any number of dry spice mixes I always have on hand, although a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper can work just fine as well. In this recipe I used a mix I call southwest spice—the main ingredients are ground dried ancho, chipotle, and Spanish pimentón plus brown sugar. When roasted, this mix yields an intoxicating smoked-sweet-heat flavor to whatever food it coats.
The potato slices were also lightly coated with olive oil and a tablespoon or two of my roasted garlic jam to round out the flavors of this batch.
Select potatoes that are relatively uniform in size so the slices will evenly roast at the same time. No peeling is required, and preferred! A quick blanching of the slices is the only other cooking step required as the oven does all the rest of the work.
So here you go, my take on Oven-Roasted French Fries.
(2 medium-size potatoes per person)
Roasted garlic jam or garlic powder
Salt and pepper or a spice mix of your choice
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Wash and dry the potatoes.
Slice the potatoes into 3/8-inch rounds, skin on, then slice across the rounds into 3/8-inch batons.
Blanch the sliced batons no more than 5 minutes in lightly salted, gently boiling water.
Drain the slices into a colander and allow them to cool.
In a large work bowl lightly drizzle the potato slices with olive oil, spoon the garlic jam around (if using), and dust with either your spice rub or salt and pepper.
Gently toss and coat the slices so as not to break them up.
Evenly spread the batons on a parchment lined baking sheet pan in a single layer or use more than one sheet pan.
Roast the slices in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, turning the pan around half way through and using a thin spatula to turn the potatoes over.
For a little extra crispness and light char, place the sheet pans under the broiler for no more than 3 minutes.
Plate and enjoy . . . nothing more to do.
Unless you are a die-hard fried-food purist, you may never consider the deep-fried French fry the same way again.
Eat well. Be well.
If you think the time will change your ways, don’t wait too long!