Crispy fries are the greatest. When cooked well, French fries can be the highlight of an entire meal. The opposite is also true, however. Bad French fries are disappointing. Soggy French fries are disgusting. Both can ruin an otherwise good lunch or dinner. For years I was disappointed with my homemade French fries. I tried using different types of oils and frying them twice, but they always turned out slightly soggy and never had the crispy exterior I was looking for. I’ve been told that this problem is easily rectified if you own a deep fryer, but I have never wanted to purchase one of those contraptions. It wasn't until I stopped frying all together that I ended up with the crispiest fries of all. Yes, I realize you are wondering how in the world I could make crispy French fries without actually frying my potatoes, but the answer is quite simple: roasting!
My discovery occurred one day when my husband was grilling burgers. I really wanted French fries, but only had about ten minutes before dinner. I threw a few potatoes in the microwave for five minutes so they half baked. I then sliced up the potatoes. Just as I was going to fry them, I remembered I had just used the oven to bake a pie and figured I might as well see how they turned out baked. I laid the potato wedges on an oiled baking sheet and then sprayed them with olive oil and dusted them with salt and some chili powder. Tossing them into the oven, I hoped for the best. 7 minutes later, I took out the tray and was pleasantly surprised. These fries were crispier than any “fried” French fries I had ever made. The centers were fluffy and the outsides crunchy. Ever since that day I’ve turned my back on frying my fries. I now use only partially baked potatoes and then roast in a nice hot oven. A nice side benefit is that these fries are also much healthier than the fried variety and you also won’t get splattered with hot oil making them.
Roasted French: "Fried" Potatoes
4 Baking potatoes
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Poke potatoes with holes and microwave for five minutes. Note: I don’t peel my potatoes as they don’t bake as nicely in the microwave if they are peeled. If you prefer to have the skin removed on your fries, just let the half baked potatoes cool a bit and then peel them before slicing.
3. Slice potatoes into wedges or julienne pieces (whichever you prefer). Be careful not to burn yourself as the inside of the potatoes are hot. You can also microwave the potatoes ahead of time.
4. Oil a baking sheet
5. Lay potato slices on the baking sheet and spray some olive oil on top. If you don’t have a sprayer, just toss the potatoes in some extra oil from the pan.
6. Top with salt and a dusting of chili powder
7. Bake for about 7 minutes, or until the fries are crispy