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Cook's Illustrated "Cold Oil" French Fries

Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 11:24 AM

I just read about Cook's Illustrated "cold oil" french fry method where the raw potatoes are added to room tempperature oil, brough to heat and fried for 20-25 minutes for a one-step, no fuss french fry.

Has anyone ever tried this? Thoughts?

I am glossing over the method somewhat, but not much. It is one of the shortest recipes I have seen in the magazine and I am eager to give it a try.

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  1. mlukan RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 11:41 AM

    The original idea came from famed chef Joël Robuchon. I have tried this recipe and it is important not to stir. Its a great recipe if you only need a smaller amount of fries. In my family they didn't last long. Supposedly this causes less oil to be soaked up into the fry. Try it out.

    1. buttertart RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 11:43 AM

      There have been a few threads on this. It's great - I only ever make fries this way now. Uses less oil than traditional methods and the fries stay crisp.

      1. vorpal RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 11:48 AM

        Sounds similar to what my mom used to do: she'd cut up potatoes, throw them on a cookie sheet, add a generous quantity of oil and coat them thoroughly, toss them in the oven, and turn it to 450F. Turn once after 20-30 minutes, and you're done. They weren't quite like regular french fries, but they were absolutely delicious, and in some respects, I liked them considerably better. I make them at home whenever I have a craving and usually over regular fries. They're even good for poutine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: vorpal
          buttertart RE: vorpal Apr 15, 2010 12:06 PM

          My mom used to do this too (maybe it's a Canadian monm-thing) but actually these are nothing like this: You put the potatoes in cold deep fat and heat them in it until they're "boiling", then keep them cooking until done (about 20 mins? total). Works very well indeed.

        2. Caitlin McGrath RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 12:06 PM

          Here's an informative thread from a couple of years ago, before CI covered the method: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476770

          3 Replies
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
            buttertart RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 15, 2010 12:07 PM

            Have you tried these, Caitlin? Highly recommended.

            1. re: buttertart
              Caitlin McGrath RE: buttertart Apr 15, 2010 12:17 PM

              I haven't tried them yet; fries are something I tend to only have out, as a strategy for limiting my consumption. But I'd like to try it someday, so I keep the thread I linked filed away in my mind.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                buttertart RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 15, 2010 12:21 PM

                A good strategy. I think if I were forced to pick one food in the world to live on it would be french fries.

          2. Cicely RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 01:03 PM

            I wonder if it would work for, say, fried chicken?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cicely
              Zeldog RE: Cicely Apr 15, 2010 09:33 PM

              I would not try it with chicken. Raw potatoes are mostly water, so they won't soak up much oil while heating up, but anything breaded or battered will come out really greasy.

              1. re: Cicely
                dmd_kc RE: Cicely Apr 15, 2010 10:34 PM

                It wouldn't work at all for chicken, unless you cut your pieces quite small, as in one-inch cubes. At those temperatures, you could never get the middle of whole, bone-in pieces cooked with a crispy outside.

              2. Zeldog RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 15, 2010 09:30 PM

                I've had mixed results starting with cold oil. I think it might have something to do with the amount of oil, amount of potatoes, and how hot your burner is. So if it doesn't work the first time, try some variations. At any rate, it's so much easier than double frying.

                1. scubadoo97 RE: Ernie Diamond Apr 16, 2010 03:03 AM

                  Ernie, I've done the "Robuchon" method many times. It works. I'm not sure that they take up less oil but they don't seem any more oily than standard methods. They are not cooked twice so that may account for some of the difference. Most home cooks don't do the twice fry anyway. Keys for success, don't cut them too thick, about 3/8 to 1/2 inch is your target thickness. Soak in cold water to remove starch. Dry very well. Cook in single layer in about 1" of oil.

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