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French Fries are the Devil...& other Silliness (recipe: Awesome Oven Fries)

Posted Jan 26 2011 5:00pm

On occasion--and more times than I typically care to admit--the inspiration for my cooking, in general, and posts, in particular, generates from utter randomness. Case in point: a silly video (originally posted on Facebook by my friend, and fellow blogger, Julie @ Peanut Butter & Julie ) and thick-cut oven fries.

Like many other days, I spent the day divided--hovering over my computer one moment, my stove the next, conjuring and tweaking recipes for one project or another--without any thought of food that might actually be suitable for an evening repast. Fortunately, I took a break to procrastinate and check my Facebook page. It was there I spied a post from Julie. A video post. I clicked. I watched. I laughed to the point of tears. And I found inspiration for dinner.

It all came from a mention of french fries (namely, that they are the devil), which set my mouth watering while simultaneously reminding me that I had a 10-pound bag of russet potatoes in the pantry awaiting transformation.

I love a good french fry, and I can say the following with a (relatively) pure heart: I think oven fries can be even better.

I say "can be", because I have had some kicking deep-fried french fries (Balthazar in New York! Turns out they are Bobby Flay's favorites , too. Shucks.). But most french fries come no where close to Balthazar, whereas a batch of good oven fries can be near-perfection: crisp outside, fluffy inside, with the added bonuses of being easy-to-make (far lower risk of burning the kitchen to cinders in comparison to deep-frying) and not only lower in fat and calories but healthy, too (e.g., did you know that potatoes are really high in vitamin C? Munch on that).

These yummy fries will make you smile, even more so if you begin the meal preparation by watching the hilarious video that inspired it all.

Josh Groban Sings Kanye West Tweets (Watch and laugh; you won't be sorry)

Postscript: It struck me that I should add that I didn't just eat french fries for dinner (not that I'm above that). I cooked up some chicken apple sausages, too. Sometimes the side makes the choice of main easier for me.

Awesome Oven Fries

I have an assortment of fancy sea salts (gifts from Mom and others) in my pantry, so I decided to break open a new jar (black sea salt to be precise--wow!) and use some as a finishing salt to the fries. A delicious addition in case you have likewise been gifted with fancy salts.

4 large russet potatoes (scrubbed if leaving skins on)
2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 tsp salt ground
Optional: 1 tsp spice of choice (e.g., cumin, ras el hanout, curry powder, Garam Masala, you name it)
Optional: fancy schmantzy flaked sea salt , to serve

Preheat oven to 4ooF. If desired, peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into long French fry shapes about the thickness of your little finger. Rinse under the cold tap and pat dry with a clean dish towel.

Spread the fries on a large non-stick baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and regular salt. Place them flat in a single layer -use two trays rather than overcrowd one (otherwise, they will steam--still tasty, but not brown and crisp).

Roast for 45-50 minutes, turning now and then with a spatula. When cooked they should be golden brown and crisp with a light fluffy center. If desired, scatter on fancy sea salt to serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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