Everybody loves junk food. Despite the huge push to healthy eating, none of us can resist our fast-food favorites, even though they really should be treats rather than everyday foods.
One way to really appreciate junk food for what it is - make it yourself! One of the reasons we usually go out for french fries is that making good fries is a complex process. If we had to make our own french fries from scratch every time, we might eat them less often.
The good news - homemade french fries blow fast-food fries out of the water every time. You just need the right techniques, ingredients, and equipment.
Ingredients and Equipment
You will need:
Starchy raw potatoes (russets) - note that, since you're frying in batches, you can make as few or as many as you desire
A large bowl of cold water
A large (preferably enameled cast iron) dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, filled 1 1/2 inches deep of oil (I used a combo of canola oil and clarified bacon drippings)
Salt (we prefer the sea salt or garlic salt that comes in a grinder, but use what you've got.)
A potato peeler
A mandoline slicer (optional, but makes this much faster)
A large colander
A cookie sheet
Another cookie sheet with a baker's cooling rack set inside it
A candy thermometer
A serving dish lined with several thicknesses of paper towel
Step 1: Clean, Peel and Slice Your Potatoes
Scrub your potatoes under running water and peel them using the potato peeler.
Using the mandoline slicer on the julienne setting and the guard or a kevlar glove to protect your hands, cut your potatoes into matchsticks.
Alternatively, using a sharp knife, cut your potato in half the long way, and lay the flat sides on your cutting board. Cut each half into thin long slices perpendicular to your cutting board. Separate the slices into two stacks, turn each stack so that the flat side is on your cutting board. Slice the stack into matchsticks.