oven baked garlic fries with garlic aioli
Whew, this has been one crazy long weekend! When we weren’t busy seeing friends and family, running errands (including multiple visits to grocery and liquor stores), we were in the kitchen cooking. Trust me, you’ve got lots to look forward to in the coming days!
Joseph e-mailed me at work earlier last week telling me that he wanted to make some oven baked fries and a ligher, healthier aioli. I wasn’t going to argue with him. And let me tell you, he was a man obsessed. He picked up some potatoes before he picked me up at work on Friday and was ready to go home and make them right then and there as an appetizer to the pizza that we were going to make. These may be healthier fries and our homemade pizza may be healthier than a the pizza joint down the street, but I don’t know if the two of these things together is so healthy. I told Joseph he was welcome to make the fries, but I was heading to the back porch with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And you know what? He decided to wait another day and joined me on the porch. And then another day became another day, and then another day, but today Joseph finally got to make his fries. And I have to admit, they were definitely worth obsessing over!
When we did finally get to the fries, I suggested that Joseph try the nice OXO mandoline that we got for Christmas but still hadn’t used. He sort of shrugged it off, but then came back to look at it and then decided against it once again. I told him he could go ahead and cut up all the potatoes by hand if he wanted, but what did he have against the mandoline? Turns out he just didn’t want to learn how to assemble and use it. He later admitted that the 5 minutes that it took him to figure it out was definitely worth the 10 minutes it saved not having to cut up the potatoes by hand. The mandoline is frankly nothing short of magical. It comes with a little handle thing to spear your food so you don’t have to hold it as you glide it over the razor sharp edge (I rather like having all my fingers) and just a few swipes and your potato goes from spud to beautiful pile of perfectly shaped fries! I’m just sad we’re just now using it. It was the winner in America’s Test Kitchen’s mandoline equipment test (and doesn’t cost $200 like the other one they loved), so we should have realized how easy it would be to use and enjoy.
Oven baked fries are often kind of soggy and less fun than fries from the deep frier. Joseph went to Cook’s Illustrated to find out how to make the perfect oven baked fries. (I know, here I go again. I promise, I don’t get any kickbacks from Cook’s Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen, I’m just obsessed with them because they are right about everything). First, soaking the potatoes in hot water before cooking them removes some of the starch. Next, Cook’s Illustrated recommends letting the fries cook covered in the oven for five minutes so they can steam, and then letting them cook 20 – 35 minutes uncovered in the oven till they’re crispy and golden.
On a nutritional note, adding more seasoning to the potatoes gives them more flavor so you don’t need to use as much salt and leaving the potato skin on adds both fiber and iron and reduces your prep time because you don’t have to peel them. And of course baking them instead of frying them is a much healthier way to go and when you can get them as flavorful and crispy as these, there’s no need to deep fry fries. Bring on the summer burgers and fries!
Sweet potato fries more your thing? Ooo, and you like them with a kick? Then you will love these.
Oven Baked Garlic Fries with Garlic Aioli
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated (January 2004) and Skinny Taste
The list of ingredients may seem long. Most of it is seasoning, which is really up to you and your preferences. We used what we had on hand and what seemed appropriate. It can be as simple as just salt and pepper, or if you like 'em spicy, you can add cayenne or chili pepper flakes.
- 3 potatoes (russet or yukon gold), washed and dried
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil (optional: swap 1 tablespoon oil for 1 tablespoon rendered duck fat)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
For light aioli dip:
- 2 tablespoon light mayo
- 2 tablespoon fat free greek yogurt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- For the aioli, combine the mayo, yogurt and 1 crushed garlic clove in a small bowl and mix with a fork. Set aside or refrigerate until fries are ready to serve.
- Place an oven rack at the lowest position and heat the oven to 475 degrees.
- Heat the 3 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon oil (or 1 tablespoon rendered duck fat) in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil/duck fat aside.
- Cut each potato lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices and then cut each slice into 1/4 inch fries (if using a mandolin slicer, attach french fry blade and set thickness to 1/4 inch). In a large bowl, cover potato slices with hot tap water and soak for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, coat a 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with 4 tablespoon oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and set aside. Use a heavy-duty baking sheet to prevent warping in the hot oven.
- Drain the potatoes and then dry them by spreading them out on a triple layer of paper towels. Use additional paper towels to pat them dry. Rinse and wipe out the now-empty bowl, return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the seasonings and the 1 tablespoon oil or duck fat used to heat garlic earlier. Arrange the potatoes in single layer on the prepared baking sheet, cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes start to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes for even browning.
- Scrape the pan with a spatula and tongs to loosen potatoes from the pan, then turn the fries over, keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly. Transfer the fries to a second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Toss with garlic, finely chopped parsley and rosemary. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve with light aioli dip.