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twice fried method for FF/Pomme Frites

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Can anyone describe the "twice fried" method for making french fries? I make them whenever I serve duck confit (tonight), but they always take so long. I cut the potatoes small, and I get the oil (duck fat, oh yeah) as close to 350 as I can, but it still seems like I am frying forever. (I know, the water content of the potato makes a difference as well, and I try to make good decisions with the limited varieties available to me(.

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  1. I follow the directions in Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking":

    For fries that are cut about 1/4" square, I fry for about 8to 10 minutes in 250F oil, set aside, and then fry for 3 to 4 minutes at 350 to 375F just before serving.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Does it matter how long I set them aside? Should I just leave them on the counter on a paper towel in between? Does he recommend any other prep?
      Thanks Joan

      1. re: squabbit

        You can set them aside for as long as you need to; on the counter on paper towels would be fine, as would on a rack over a baking sheet. Whatever works.

        The only other prep he mentions is to start the potatoes in the cooler oil and then raise the temp of the oil without removing the potatoes in between. But since one is usually cooking the fries in batches, that method really isn't as efficient. At least, that's what he says. I've never tried it the second way, only the first.

        1. re: squabbit

          I would lay them out on a cut -up paper bag which you've put on a baking sheet. I find that when I put them on a paper towel they tend to really stick on the paper. A real pain to have to try to remove them plus they break apart then as well. The paper bag absorbs the oil, but they don't stick to it.

      2. 4-5 large russet potatoes
        peanut oil
        salt
        Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
        In a large dutch oven heat oil to 320 degrees.
        Peel potatoes and EVENLY cut fries into 1/4" x 1/4" strips of equal length.
        Place in a large bowl of cold water as you're slicing.
        Drain potatoes thoroughly, removing any excess water.
        When oil reaches 320 degrees, submerge the potatoes in the oil.
        Working in small batches, fry for 2 to 3 minutes until they are pale and floppy.
        Remove from oil, drain, and cool to room temperature.
        Increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees.
        Re-immerse fries and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
        Remove and drain on roasting rack.
        Season with kosher salt.
        Once again this is done is small batches and will need to be kept warm in the oven until all potatoes are fried.

        1. Whatever you're cooking in probably doesn't hold temperature well when you put your potatoes in. That's why people are saying cook small batches. This makes it hard for the home cook who doesn't use a profressional fryer that re-heats quickly.

          1. Thanks everyone, good advice. All my waistline needs is a way to make frying easier.