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A chowlenge: redeeming leftover fries

A friend and I were musing about culinary impossibilities and it seemed to us that there was not a single way of making good use of cold leftover fries, either resurrected as fries or incorporated into something else. We fantasized about this being the perfect secret ingredient in Iron Chef America. We wanna see Cat Cora confused :)

Has anyone actually done this with any level of success? Even if you haven't tried, any clues as to what we might start experiementing with, should we take this on as a kind of quest?

Forgive me if this has already been talked about... I did do a search but didn't find anything...

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  1. Well they don't work as hash browns, although I've cut them up into fritattas. But they don't really add that much.

    3 Replies
    1. re: coll

      I re-use them into frittatas as well. However, if you have superior flavored french fries, it does add to the frittata. I only bring home leftover fries from restaurants, if they have a great flavor. Otherwise, I'll just leave them on the plate.

      1. re: beetlebug

        I second the motion! Frittatas give one a chance to be creative. I usually make one using about 6 eggs mixed with several dollops of ricotta. The aromatics are chopped onions and celery, and extremely incendiary chiles (oops! peperoncini, the generic Italian word for hot peppers, not to be confused with the pickled ones in a jar sold in supermarkets). I use an old 10" cast iron skillet. After the aromatics have been sauteed in olive oil, add the fries, and a little butter. Pour in the egg-ricotta mixture and cook at a low cooktop temperature. When one sees the egg starting to set on the edges, remove the skillet and place it under the broiler. Watch the progress of the eggs cooking on top. Once the eggs are set, remove the skillet setting it aside on the cooktop. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the eggs.

        I do not try to remove the frittata from the skillet in toto by flipping onto a plate because the skillet is too heavy. I cut the frittata into 4 wedges and use a spatula to remove the wedges to plates.

        T'invio cordialissimi saluti e buon appetito! Mangia bene!

        1. re: ChiliDude

          My mother just made a pan version as an omelet. Or rather, she poured beaten eggs over them, and just scrambled them. Add ketchup, or tomato chutney, if you care to. What more could you desire? Of course, now that I know better, I'd opt for the frittata...
          BTW, this recipe, even tho it doesn't call for french fries, has an excellent, easy technique for frittatas....I used it, with totally different ingredients, the other day, and it's now my basic template...


    2. Sure, you can make the peruvian classic, lomo saltado. Or we sometimes shallow fry them in peanut oil again, and they come out like they're double-fried with nice brown and crunchy exteriors but the interior tends to be a bit mealier than when they were fresh. So, I recommend cooking them all the way to crackly. Or add them to a juicy sandwich wrap to soak up the flavors.

      I am curious about your experience since you say they can't be resurrected as fries. I think they can be better when twice-fried.

      1. Usually just re-fry them. But leftover fries are not that common...how did you make the originals?

        1. If your leftover fries are fresh-cut and thick, and you don't mind them very crunchy, you can just reheat in the oven at 300 F in a cookie sheet until they are hot and crispy again. The fries from my favorite rotisserie chicken place in Montreal are excellent reheated like this and served with a lot of vinegar and sea salt -- sprinkle generously with vinegar first so the salt will stick.

          1. I wonder if you could whirl them in a processor, add some chopped chives, maybe an egg, make a potato pancake.

            Or did anybody say soup yet? Maybe a take on baked potato soup, with bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheddar, onions.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nemo

              Similar to nemo - saute onions, garlic, and Indian spices as part of a roux, add dairy to make a thick cream sauce, add the whirred potatoes and perhaps some leftover veggies and/or diced cooked meat/poultry/seafood, shape into patties, and pan-fry or deep-fry as croquettes. Or change the seasoning to Old Bay and make crab cakes.

            2. Put them in a compost pile and eat them later as tomatoes.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Father Kitchen

                BWAH, Father Kitchen!

                I just stick leftover fries in the toaster oven until they're crispy again.

                1. re: PegS

                  I do that too. I spray them with a cooking spray, like pam, and then warm until crispy. Work better on medium thick fries.

                  If they are nice and thick I like to warm them, but not get them crispy, and cut them up, toss with cream gravy and chow down.

                  I also save leftover tator tots and make hash browns out of them, mixing in some bacon pieces and cheese.

                  1. re: PegS

                    We don't get them much, but if I absolutely had to use them over again, I would probably cut them up and add them to a well-seasoned with some corn and and whatever else was available at the moment, get out the hand wand blender, and make a veloute soup. But I still think the compost pile is the best use for them. Now oven roasted rosemary potatoes that are cut from end to end and puff up while roasting are another story. They make great snacks.

                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                      I love the idea of potato snacks. I wonder why I never do that.

                  2. I put them on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a few minutes, which warms and crisps them.

                    1. Roll 'em up with carne asada and guacamole in a California burrito.

                      1. I've tried everything from baking to re-frying them, and the latter method is the only one that works for me. It re-crisps the exterior and warms the interior adequately, which is just what I'm looking for, and the intense heat quickly applied does not give that sorta dusky flavor that baking imparts, which I do not care for.

                        1. One of the taco meat recipes in my repetoire uses potato as an extender. Bits of diced potato, ground or shredded meat, tomato sauce and spices and they break down as the meat cooks and absorb flavor and thickens the whole mess.. Old fries work well here. I have also used similarliy in meat pockets, chopped up and mixed into my meat mixture with onions and gravy.

                          1. I have never ever ever had a left over fry. The only sorta left over fry I have had was a mystery black nip on the end of one fry. Hmmm... I may have even eaten that too.

                            If I had leftover fries, I would drown them in chili and tobasco, top with cheese and pop it in the oven. No wonder I am a chub.

                            1. There is an Argentinian recipe called 'revuelto gramajo' which is exactly a sort of scramble using finely cut fries, ham, eggs, onion and garlic as a base. It is a very simple type of comfort food and ideal to use up leftover fries. All you need to do is fry the onion and garlic, mix it up with the fries, 2 or 3 beaten eggs, cubes of ham, salt and pepper (you can add spices and chillies if you are so inclined although the original doesn't). Then you pour everything in a pan and fry until the eggs are cooked, stirring it up. It is a sort of scrambled eggs with fries and ham but a nice solution for leftovers, although not particularly heart-friendly!

                              1. My word, people. Has no one ever heard of poutine? Throw the fries in a dish, dump some gravy and cheese curds (or shredded cheddar/gruyere if you can't find cheese curds) on top, stick them in the oven until they're good and hot and enjoy. Not authentic, but delish for sure. And for the record, they're supposed to be a bit mushy from the gravy, but that's all part of the charm.