Our family goes through a LOT of potatoes, as do most families that eat gluten-free. Most of the time I like to keep things simple when it comes to potatoes, so I’ll just slice them up, season, and bake. It’s simple, quick, and tasty! But recently I’ve been hung up on the idea of making perfectly crispy homemade french fries. It’s something I’ve never quite been able to master, but I couldn’t figure out why until recently!
I’ve made homemade french fries a handful of times in the past, and I’ve tried a lot of different things to try and achieve that elusive, perfectly crispy fry. More oil, less oil, no oil, taking them out halfway through, high heat, low heat, fast cooking, slow cooking… you get the idea. I eventually came across a tip on Pinterest, and discovered the “secret” to achieve the crispness I was looking for. To my surprise, it turned out to be a step that happens before the cooking even starts!
The Secret To Crispy Fries
It turns out that the “secret” to deliciously crispy oven fries is a presoak in salted water. Soaking the raw potatoes in salt water releases a lot of their moisture before cooking, so they can crisp up nicely in the oven without turning out overcooked.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes for oven-baked fries, so you can put this method to the test for yourself!
Italian Oven-Baked Fries
adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves 6 (if you’re lucky!)
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
2 cups grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your potatoes into sticks that are about 1/3” thick. Place the potatoes into a bowl of cold water, along with a couple of tablespoons of salt. Allow the fries to soak in the salted water for about 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to cook the potatoes, drain them and pat dry.
Place your fries into a bowl and pour the olive oil over the top. Toss the fries with your hands to ensure that they are all coated with oil. Then transfer the oiled fries to a couple of baking sheets. (I used my oven mats on my baking sheets, because they make clean-up so easy!)
Spread the fries into a single layer on each baking sheet. Then sprinkle the dried herbs evenly over the potatoes, followed by the cheese and parsley.
Bake until the potatoes are golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Rotating the pans after 30 minutes to ensure they bake evenly.
Removed the finished fries from the sheets and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, along with your favorite dipping sauce. Yum!