Maybe once and for all: there's no such thing as "french" fries, unless they are made in France. Frites (pronounce as "freat" in english) are a Belgian invention, not french.
There's some logic in making frites. They have to be nicely soft inside and crispy outside. That's why they are fried twice. Once to soften them and a second time to give them a nice crispy coat.
Search and experiment for the best potatoes, they must fry evenly. We use "Bintje", a more floury potatoe, never waxy potatoes.
The best fries are handcut! They will turn out irregular, but have a wider variety of taste and mouthfeel.
Go for approx. 10 mm thickness.
Best not to wash them, but to just dry in a clean kitchentowel. You need to fry the frites soon after cutting or they will turn black if they are not kept in water.
Use a good quality frying oil like arachide (peanutoil). When your fryer has a lid, never close it when frying frites!!!
Set the temperature to 150°C (302°F). Don't overfill/underfill the fryer with frites. Too much frites in one batch, will produce fatty and soggy frites, yuck!
First fryingtime is approx. 10 minutes. When they come to the oilsurface they are done, which means still uncolored but softened. It's important not to color them. But, test by squeezing a frite between thumb and indexfinger. You have to be able to squeeze the frite easily, no "al dente". Take the frites out and gently shake above the fryingpan to drain the excess oil.
Leave the frites to cool entirely on a plate or tray. So now you have ample time to do anything else, such as having a beer.
The final frying is done at 180/190°C (356/374°C) for just 2-3 minutes. They need to be goldenbrown, not darkbrown! Professionals say they have to "sing", or make that particular bubbling fryingnoise when they are done.
Take the frites out, gently shake the excess oil off, put in a serving bowl clad with a papertowel and salt immediately. Toss them a bit in the air, to get even crispier and distribute the salt evenly.
When you salt later, the salt will simply fall off.
- Many professional friteries still use animal fat, which gives the ultimate taste. Usually processed beeffat that looks entirely white. Hence the name "ossewit" or oxwhite in english.
- After the first frying, you can bag the frites in one-batch portions and keep them in your freezer. Let them defrost a bit and fry. Best "frozen" frites ever.
- If you insist on "french" fries, make some "pommes Pont-Neuf". Very cheffy and delicious... also. You need to cut very thick fries up to just under one inch thick, poach in water, leave to cool or even put in the freezer, then fry in oil at 180°C untill golden brown. These french fries are stacked nicely, only 4-6 on one plate.