Pommes Frites: French for "French" Fries

I added a little “dust” of five-spice powder & pulverized black sesame seeds.

I made these fantastic pommes frites a couple of days ago. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately I’ve renewed my fascination with fresh fried potatoes. A couple of weeks ago I made some “from-scratch” tater tots, just a week ago I made some delightfully light and airy chips. And so the trend continues…

I used russet potatoes, which are the starchiest of the potatoes commonly found in supermarkets everywhere. First I peeled and then cut them into big matchsticks, about a quarter-inch thick. I soaked the sticks in cold water for about ten minutes. I then drained that water and then rinsed the potatoes again. I dried the potato sticks very well on paper towels.

I fried them in rendered duck fat set to 320 degrees F. I fried them until almost all of the ‘bubbling’ had stopped. The bubbling is water moisture being cooked out of the fries. You want almost all of the moisture gone, but the potatoes should not be browned during this phase — just almost cooked through and slightly limp.

I heated the fat up to 365 degrees. And then I fried the French Fries in batches until nicely browned and crisp. Again, cook the fries until virtually all of the bubbling has ceased.

I dusted the French Fries with a combination of kosher salt, finely ground black pepper, a pinch of five-spice powder, a pinch of cayenne, and a pinch of ground black sesame seeds (found in a plastic bag at Japanese markets).

Now, of course you don’t have to fry these in duck fat, which is a luxury few people can find, afford, or inflict on their arteries. Use peanut oil, corn oil, or vegetable oil.

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