I realized this week that I hadn’t done a potato post in a while. We have potatoes at least once a week and oven fries are one of our favorite ways to make them. We usually have them with hamburgers, oven-baked crispy fish (or any fish for that matter) or sandwiches.
Rich discovered a few years ago that if we cut the potatoes into cubes instead of regular French fry shapes, they get crispier in the oven and don’t break when you stir them. Feel free to make regular French fry shapes if you prefer.
The absolute key to getting crispy oven fries is not to crowd the pan. You want lots of space between the pieces of potato, no matter what shape you cut them. If you are doubling the recipe, use two pans or you will end up with a few crispy pieces and mostly soft, steamed potatoes. Trust me on this. I think I have finally learned that lesson, though I seem to forget on a regular basis when I am doubling the recipe. Do as I say, not as I do.
Oven Baked French Fries
from the Cook’s Life
Serves 4, doubles easily
Feel free to adjust the spices to your own tastes, even keeping them as simple as just salt. Use dried rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper for a nice variation. Don’t be tempted to substitute chopped garlic for the garlic powder – it burns. Any kind of potato works – red, russet, Yukon Gold…use what you have on hand.
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
Ground cayenne (optional)
4 large potatoes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly grease your largest baking sheet with olive oil. Don’t use cooking spray – it tends to leave a sticky residue on the pan at the high cooking temperature.
While the oven is heating, measure 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large bowl. Add several healthy shakes or pinches of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add a dash or two of ground cayenne. You aren’t going for really hot here (unless you like that), just a little zing. Feel free to skip the cayenne. Stir the spices and oil and set aside.
Peel the potatoes, if you like, or scrub them well. Cut them into approximately 1-inch cubes, or into fairly uniform French fry shapes. Drop the pieces into the oil mixture as you cut them.
Gently stir the potatoes to coat them with the oil and spices.
Pour the potatoes onto the baking sheet, adding any oil that is in the bottom of the bowl.
Spread the potatoes into one layer, with as much space as possible between the pieces. Use two baking sheets if necessary.
Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. You might have to use a spatula to pry/scrape the potatoes up from the baking sheet when you stir them.
The fries are done with they are crispy, browned and slightly puffy.
Serve hot. These are best the day they are made, they lose their crispness as leftovers, though they are still tasty.