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French Fries


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#41 Matthew Kayahara

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Posted 03 March 2009 - 11:21 AM

I think Keller uses frozen french fries at Bouchon for the same reason he uses farm raised salmon at the French Laundry, they are consistent throughout the year.

That's what I've heard, too. The frozen fries he uses are apparently a 100% potato product, with no flavour enhancers or coatings, but they're more consistent than using fresh. I'm sure there's a convenience factor, too, given the number of fries they must go through at Bouchon.

As for storage, my understanding is that there are significant variations by potato variety. McGee says that the starch-to-sugar conversion happens in storage below 45F/7C, but that they can be reconditioned by subsequent storage for several weeks at room temperature. (He notes that potato chip manufacturers do this.) I'm sure there's an ideal level of both sugar and starch to give the right colour and texture, but retail potato options around here are quite limited, and I'm not convinced any of them are ideal for fries.
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#42 Matthew Kayahara

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 09:14 AM

I came across a novel approach to making French fries on a blog today: microwave the potatoes to cook them through, then fry them in oil to crisp up the outsides. The post is here, and the full recipe (in PDF format) is here.

This makes a lot of sense to me: if the standard double-frying method is intended to cook the potatoes through without overly browning the exterior, why fry them the first time around? You run the risk of having more oil absorbed at the lower frying temperature. Similarly, if you cook them in water, they're going to absorb water and you'll have a harder time crisping them up. But if you use a dry-heat method to cook the potatoes through, then fry them in high-temp oil to crisp up the outside, you should get a good result.
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#43 Corgi Man

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 09:55 AM

I just read the blog and recipe, Matthew. Interesting. I wonder if you could cut the potatoes before microwaving. I hate to deal with cutting up hot potatoes. I may try this just for fun today or tomorrow.
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#44 Matthew Kayahara

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 10:03 AM

I just read the blog and recipe, Matthew. Interesting. I wonder if you could cut the potatoes before microwaving. I hate to deal with cutting up hot potatoes. I may try this just for fun today or tomorrow.

My guess is that you wouldn't get the same results, since the skin keeps a lot of the potato's moisture content contained; that's why you have to pierce it to prevent it from exploding. It's certainly worth a try, though. Let us know how it goes!

Edited by Matthew Kayahara, 17 March 2009 - 10:04 AM.

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"A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them. Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion."
-Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

#45 James

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 08:12 PM

If you microwave cut up potatoes the surface will probably be discolored, and the cooking uneven.

You could peel the whole potatoes, even if hot, under water or under a slow stream from the faucet.

I'll be interested in seeing how you make out.
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