Monday, October 18, 2010

Fan Fare

As Isaac has been completely swept up into the excitement of October baseball,  it seems all I hear is "Buster Posey!" in his excited, three-year-old baseball fan voice.  I, on the other hand, am using the playoffs as an excuse to make one of my favorite vices: garlic fries.  Once we get out the deep fryer (yes, I registered for one when we got married) we do a lot of frying so as not to waste the oil.  Which means I made these three times in the course of a week, and the requests are still coming in for more.  They taste just like the ones they sell at the Giants' games.  And let's be honest: half the reason we all go to Giants games is for the garlic fries.  So make a batch and pretend you're at the game, with no BART ride, no overpriced concessions, and no fear of hidden allergens.  Our team flew home last night; perhaps the familiar smell of garlic in the air will help push them towards a victory over the Phillies tomorrow.  Go Giants!

There are a few important steps to success for this recipe.  First, don't skip the soaking time.  It rinses away excess starch and greatly improves the texture of the fries.  Second, make sure your oil is at the right temperature before you begin.  Too hot and they will burn; too cool and they will be greasy.  And finally, the two-step frying process is essential.  The first step cooks the potatoes thoroughly, while the second gives a crispy, golden exterior.

Ballpark Garlic Fries

6 large russet potatoes
10 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed with garlic press
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp olive oil
Oil for frying (canola, soybean, or peanut all work fine)

Scrub and peel your potatoes.  Using a very sharp knife, slice them about 3/16" thick.  Then stack the slices and cut them into plank style fries, not quite 1/2" wide.  They will shrink somewhat when you cook them, so don't worry if they look a little thick.  Place the fries in a large bowl and cover them with water; set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Fill your deep fryer with oil to according to manufacturer's instructions (or a Dutch oven on the stove top with a deep fry thermometer attached - oil should be a few inches deep).  Heat to 320* F.  While oil is heating, put 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add garlic and cook over low heat until fragrant and just beginning to sizzle (do NOT brown garlic).  Using a slotted spoon, remove garlic to a small bowl and toss with the parsley.  Set aside.

Set out 2 large rimmed baking sheets and line them with paper towels.  Drain potatoes and spread out on one sheet, and pat dry thoroughly with more paper towels.  Place 1/3 of the fries in your fryer basket and lower them gently into the hot oil.  Cook about 5 minutes.  Fries should be flexible and the outsides will blister a bit, but they won't start browning yet.  Drain and pour cooked fries onto clean paper towels on second sheet.  Repeat with remaining potatoes in 2 more batches.  Throw away the wet paper towels and replace with a new layer.

Increase the fryer temperature to 375* F.  Place 1/3 of the cooked potatoes in the fryer basket and lower into the oil.  Cook about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp.  Drain and pour out onto the clean paper towels; repeat with remaining fries in 2 more batches.  Place fries in a large, wide bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Spoon garlic mixture over and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

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