Publication date: 2018-09-15 02:48
If you have ever tried to make French fries at home, the results were most likely a let-down. Perhaps your spuds turned out golden brown and crisp on the outsides, but were still hard and undercooked on the insides (nobody likes al dente potatoes) — or maybe the insides were tender and perfectly cooked, but the outsides were pale and soggy. Head to your favorite burger joint or local neighborhood restaurant , though, and not only are their fries cooked flawlessly on the interior, but they also have a crunchy exterior. So what’s the deal?
French fries can be found on restaurant menus all across America, from the smallest takeout shack to the grand bastions of fine dining in fact, they might well be America’s most commonly-found menu item. But like all universal foods, quality can vary drastically, from mealy and soggy to super-crisp and perfectly golden. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to track down the best French fries in America for the fifth year running, and we’re proud to present a lineup of 55 fries that can be awarded our highest level of French fry praise: They’re so good, they don’t even need ketchup.
Potatoes come in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures there are several hundred cultivars commercially available in the United States. Potatoes can be divided into two main categories -- starchy and waxy. Starchy potatoes, such as russets, are fluffy and floury when cooked. Waxy varieties, such as new potatoes and fingerlings, are low in starch, have a creamy texture, and hold their shape well when cooked.
What to Look For: Look for potatoes that are firm and free of cracks and bruises. Avoid potatoes that have sprouted "eyes" or have green-tinged skin -- both signs of improper storage.
First, fill a Dutch oven, heavy-bottom pot, or electric deep-fryer about halfway with frying oil and par-cook the potatoes in a relatively low temperature, about 875 to 855 degrees Fahrenheit. The point of this initial fry is make sure the potatoes cook through to the center, but don’t take on any color. This may seem strange, but stay with us. The cooking time for this will depend on the size of your spuds, but be patient, during this process, not to rush and dry out the potatoes. Remove the fries from the oil when a toothpick pokes through with ease, and drain them on a wire rack to cool, or refrigerate until ready to use.
How to Store: Store potatoes in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator). Waxy potatoes are best used within a week, while starchy varieties keep for several months.
Although the origin of the fry is something of a sore spot for our European friends (the French and the Belgians still can't agree about which country invented them), they have become a fine example of quintessentially American food. They're deep-fried, they're the perfect vehicle for sauce , they’re salty and crispy, and they're made from one of the America's most bountiful crops. What could be more American than that?
Here’s the secret: In order to get perfect French fries, almost all chefs and professional kitchens use a double-fry method to cook their potatoes. Very similar to the one reason restaurant fried chicken tastes better than yours , this two-step process ensures that your spuds will cook all the way through, while also achieving that GBD (golden-brown-delicious) crust that everyone loves. So how do you do this at home? Well, it’s actually pretty simple, and all you need are a few ingredients: some good old-fashioned russet potatoes cut uniformly (so they all cook at the same rate), frying oil, and salt.
What exactly makes for a perfect fry? There's the crunchiness element, for sure — that crisp exterior texture that isn’t greasy or soggy, achieved through a perfectly-timed fry (or two, and sometimes even three) in fat that’s just the right temperature. Then, the soft, fluffy interior, filled with potato that's cooked through but not dried out or raw-tasting. The color also comes into play — the best fries have that mouthwatering golden-brown hue. When all of these elements come together, they create the perfect fry, no condiments necessary.