Although our toddlers are happy to dip just about anything in ketchup, we can’t say the same for ourselves. Pretzel sticks and ketchup? Nice work on thinking outside of the box and not being constrained by societal norms, but no thank you. French fries and ketchup? Sign me up!
Over the course of our research we learned of a few different methods for creating oven roasted french fries. You can parboil the fries before roasting. You can soak them in water. Or, you can just cut them up and roast them in oil.
We opted for soaking the raw, cut fries in cold water for 15 minutes, draining the cloudy starchy water, then rinsing the fries very well. The final product is not quite a deep-fried fry, but they’re also a far cry from plain old roasted potatoes. I think the thinly cut strips, along with the soaking in cold water to remove starch, are the reasons these work so well. And of course, the homemade ketchup was just icing on the cake!
So, does anyone else out there have any hard won french fry making advice?
Homemade French Fries
Preheat oven to 450.
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1/4 c. peanut or canola oil (chosen for its high smoke point)
- generous sprinkle of salt
Cut the potatoes into 1/4” strips. We found the thinness did a lot to prevent these from tasting like regular roasted potato chunks.
Toss the cut fries into a bowl of cold water as they are cut. Let soak for 15 minutes, then drain away the cloudy starchy water. Rinse very well, then dump the wet fries onto a dish towel and blot them dry. If you were to roast too-wet fries they’d steam instead of roast, and be mushy in the end. Ew.
Toss the dried fries with the 1/4 c. oil, then spread them in a single layer – we used two large rimmed baking sheets, that we spread thinly with oil. We’d recommend against using un-rimmed cookie sheets…you don’t want to start a grease fire! Sprinkle generously with salt.
Roast for 15 minutes, then retrieve the baking sheets and toss the fries around with a spatula. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so (you may need an extra 5 to 10 minutes -- one of our batches required more time, possibly because of the type of cookie sheet), until the fries are golden brown and blistered in spots.