Bad Fries, Burned Arm, Leftover cut potatoes
After a french fry disaster last night - I am refusing to ever again make french fries until we own a fryolator. (Trying to make them on the stove top was a nightmare that ended with crappy fries and a burned arm. It's just too hard to control the temp with gas on the stove top.)
But that's not my real issue. I have almost a pound of potatoes (about 1/4 inch square and varying in length) they are a mix of sweet potatoes and russets. What in the heck am I gonna do with these? I thought about some sort of casserole but figured I'd see if anyone had a bright idea or some casserole inspiration. I have chicken and pork (two small loing chops an one small tenderloin) and a half a pack of bacon and some fish (salmon and haddock). Anything else I can buy. Help?
Oh, if it matters, the potatoes have been soaked so they are missing the usual excess starch.
Thanks in advance! You guys rocked so much with the moussaka and the sweet potatoes with lime last timethat I figured I'd give it another go....
Krissy, what you need is a heavy pot and a good thermometer. I make good fries about once a month. After rinsing drain well and pat dry. Then heat your oil to 325 F. fry in batches (they will not brown this go 'round) then drain well and allow to cool. Just before serving, heat oil to 350-375 F. Fry again in small batches. They will become brown and crisp. It is almost impossible to get good, browned and crisp fries in fresh oil.
Hold on their buckaroo - what do you mean by the 'fresh oil' comment? How do you get not fresh oil without going through a couple of crappy batches? I never knew this was an issue.
I have in fact made fries in the manner you mention and they came out great, but this time nope so I'm tired of the inconsistency (could this be in my oil?) and my husband loves fries so if I threaten 'no fries' maybe he'll buy me a small fryolator!!! (see how sneaky I am?)
Actually, I used peanut oil but didn't have enough so I added a bit of safflower and a bit of sunflower - could that be part of the problem? They took FOREVER to get even a little done (and I had the fire all the way up) and ended up a soggy mess???
It's true: even if they taste okay, the fries from the first few batch will be a pale white. It's all the little pieces of potato and starch that fall into the pot, burn, and brown the oil that make the later fries taste great.
I don't do french fries much, but the same thing happens with latkes. The ones toward the end always look beautiful. I usually fry the misshapen ones first since they're going to be pale and not as crispy any way, and save the later ones for serving. Or, as suggested, re-fry the earlier ones again when your oil has darkened.
And do make sure your potatoes are dry, and that you're using long sturdy utensils--I like my super long chopsticks and a wire mesh. The trick to not getting burned is to not be afraid of the oil, and to be both fast and gentle. My mom's advice!
There is a book "How to Read a French Fry" I forget the author's name, but Alton Brown has also talked about this on his show too. One of them also said that if you do not have time for the double fry method, that if your will add some older oil to the fresh oil you will get better browning. If you are served a fairly white fry, then is was fried in fresh oil. I always do the double fry method and turn out very good fries.
I use a James Beard recipe called German fried potatoes, cooked in butter in a frying pan.
You could make potato bread, potato flatbread or Shepard's pie.
Sorry to hear about your bad frying experience. I haven't made deep-fried fries in a long time. I actually think a gas stovetop works better than electric for regulating heat. For shallow- or deep-frying, I use a cast iron skillet or wok. These days I just roast fries at 450F in oven.
Another option is to dice your sticks into 1/4 in. cubes and make a hash or throw into soup/chowder.