How to Make Crispy French Fries in Your Oven

A note on potatoes: Russets are most often cited as the best frying potato. Unlike many potatoes, russets will release their starch (which is what causes potatoes to absorb oil) upon being soaked or rinsed. I’ve had success this summer with russets but also with a handful of others, including salem, red chieftain, and kuka gold.

Crispy Oven Fries Recipe

INGREDIENTS

2 to 4 potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds total, russets are great, but so are salem, red chieftain and kuka gold (anything you find at your farmers’ market, etc.)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nice sea salt, such as Maldon, for seasoning at the end

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position (or any rack — every oven is different) and preheat the oven to 475ºF. Wash the potatoes and cut them, lengthwise, small, even wedges or sticks. Note: really small pieces will over crisp during the baking.
  2. Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with hot tap water. Let them soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Spread 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with a tea towel. Dry out the bowl they were just soaking in. Put the potatoes back in and toss with the remaining tablespoon of oil and the teaspoon of kosher salt. If you want pepper, season the potatoes with pepper here, too.
  4. Arrange the fries in a single layer on the baking sheet and cover the sheet tightly with foil. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the foil (saving it for future uses) and continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan after 10 minutes to ensure even browning.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using a firm spatula, loosen the fries from the bottom of the pan. I find flipping the potatoes at this step to be problematic, so I just gently jostle the fries, trying as best I can not to break any and to shake them up a bit so that they will brown evenly. Continue to bake until the fries are golden and crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Rotate the pan as necessary to help them brown evenly.
  6. Remove from the oven, and season with more sea salt and/or any other seasonings you wish. Serve immediately or as soon as they are cool enough to eat.

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