Potatoes, Crispy.
June 27, 2022 8:21 AM   Subscribe

 
To myself: I assume they're coating them in starch. Yep, coating them in starch. If you do it with potato starch, you'll get McCain Superfries.
posted by sfred at 8:28 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


The written recipe is here although with ATK's aggressive paywall the link may not work for you. It's linked in the Youtube video, it might work through there.

Here's the theory of the technique, from the recipe.
When traditional French fries are fried, water is rapidly driven out of the starch cells at the surface of the potato, leaving behind tiny cavities. It's these cavities that create a delicate, crispy crust. Since oven fries don't heat fast enough for air pockets to form, we instead coat the potatoes in a cornstarch slurry that crisps up like a deep-fried fry would. We arranged the coated planks on a rimmed baking sheet that we coated with both vegetable oil spray and vegetable oil; the former contains a surfactant called lecithin, which prevents the oil from pooling and, in turn, prevents the potatoes from sticking. Using the oil spray also allowed us to use only 3 tablespoons of oil, just enough to evenly coat the fries. Covering the baking sheet with aluminum foil for the first half of cooking ensures that the potatoes are fully tender by the time they are browned.
posted by Nelson at 8:28 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


tldw? Corn starch goo. Quick summary timestamp. Definitely going to try this.
posted by gwint at 8:29 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


ATK is usually quite fussy, but this is no more complicated than other fried potato recipes. I'm looking forward to trying it.
posted by twelve cent archie at 8:31 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Not sure why I would want to make my own “oven chips” as opposed to just taking a bag out of the freezer but sure we’re all different.
posted by fallingbadgers at 8:31 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Related: Kenji Lopez-Alt's The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe. (It really is.)
posted by dfan at 8:37 AM on June 27 [27 favorites]


Seems like a lot of effort to reinvent the wheel. I leave it to McCain's or Ore Ida.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:39 AM on June 27


I had assumed the frozen options would have a lot of oil/fat but it seems pretty low, so maybe not. Not sure how to compare.
posted by gwint at 8:42 AM on June 27


it'll never replace deep frying twice in beef dripping
posted by scruss at 8:44 AM on June 27 [19 favorites]


There’s a recipe in Joy of Cooking for potatoes cooked whole in a big kettle of pine sap (?). They praise the fluffy fragrant insides, not the crunchy outsides, I think.

I’ve never met anyone who had done this, but maybe here?
posted by clew at 8:50 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I especially want crispy sweet potato fries at home, but (having only half-heartedly tried admittedly) I dunno how to get there.
posted by stevil at 8:51 AM on June 27


Never heard of that clew but it's a real thing: pine rosin potatoes, as seen in the 1973 Joy of Cooking. More here.
So what do the potatoes taste like? “When I eat them, it reminds me of playing in the woods as a kid,” Brock says. “There’s the earthiness of the potato, and the tiniest hint of pine—those smells that are so embedded when you grow up in the South.”
More poetic than "tastes like poverty". From what I gather it was a way to use the waste product from boiling pine sap to make turpentine. Note the second link takes pains to emphasize "if you break the skin, you cannot eat that potato."
posted by Nelson at 9:01 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Not sure why I would want to make my own “oven chips” as opposed to just taking a bag out of the freezer but sure we’re all different

Why eat a Wagyu steak when you can go to McDonalds, right?
posted by hwyengr at 9:08 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


The previouslies on rosin potatoes! Including news that Cracker Barrel made them for a while.
posted by clew at 9:15 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched this video yet, but I have watched a couple of cooking YTers' take on crispy oven fries. They both boil the potatoes to start until just the point where they're probably going to fall apart on you. One corrects for this by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to the water, which lets you cut the fries a bit thinner, while the other has a long cook time. Then you let the steam dissipate a bit before putting them on a baking sheet (without over-crowding) and then drizzling them with oil. (One guy uses olive oil for the flavour; the other uses peanut oil for the higher smoke point.) Then you put them in a 450-degree oven until they are cooked and crispy, flipping about half-way.

The vinegar version apparently prevents the fries from achieving a real golden brown colour but they tasted very good. I haven't tried the non-vinegar version because he recommended 90 minutes and that's a long time to run a hot oven these days.

As for why... I mean I can't say I've ever had a french fry from a frozen bag that was nearly as good as a well-made oven fry. Well worth the extra effort if you want to have fries at home.
posted by synecdoche at 9:15 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Not sure why I would want to make my own “oven chips” as opposed to just taking a bag out of the freezer but sure we’re all different

Or simply deep frying them? Nthing scruss. Oven fries whether covered in corn goo or out of a bag can never really compete with well fried fries.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:33 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


The should par boil them, get rid of most of the water, add cornstarch to slurry coat then bake until crispy. Probably even better if the par boil has baking soda to make it alkaline.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:48 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I assume they're coating them in starch. Yep, coating them in starch. If you do it with potato starch...

I'm pretty sure cooking potatoes in their own starch is condemned by the Bible.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:57 AM on June 27 [16 favorites]


Would this method work for an air fryer? I have one, and my understanding is that it's a little pressure oven, so you'll get somewhat crispier fries than you would in an oven but it's still effectively oven fries.
posted by Merus at 10:01 AM on June 27


Or simply deep frying them? Nthing scruss. Oven fries whether covered in corn goo or out of a bag can never really compete with well fried fries.

I don't like deep frying things at home. Before I had an actual range hood in the kitchen the smell of oil would linger forever. Even now it just seems like a hassle. Especially since I like potatoes, so I don't have to optimize form factor every time to enjoy them.
posted by ghost phoneme at 10:09 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Would this method work for an air fryer?

According to a relative who is an enthusiastic recent convert, "air fryer" is the correct answer to all cooking questions.
posted by fairmettle at 10:15 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Starch coatings as a shortcut to French fry crispiness are a travesty and affront to the potato gods, and have totally poisoned the fast food French fry ecosystem.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 10:16 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


You know how a pot boils over and the water spills over and into the burner making the gas flame sputter or even put it out? I did that once with oil while making Kenji's perfect french fry recipe. Put in too many potatoes and watched it start to froth and bubble up. In a brief moment of clarity I realized two things. One, that oil boiling over in to the flame was not going to quench the flame, it was going to set my kitchen on fire. And two, I didn't know where my fire extinguisher was.

Fortunately I was able to turn the burner off just in time. But I don't make french fries at home anymore. And I know where the fire extinguisher is now. That recipe is awfully good though. The nice thing is you are supposed to freeze them between the two cooks. So you can do a bunch of work up front and have fries in the freezer ready to go for a quick second fry.

Kenji's crispy roast potato recipe linked above is another "coat in starch" technique. Only in this case the starch is from the potatoes itself, deliberately roughed up a bit to give them some starchy texture on the outside. Seems like a good idea to me. Also the recipe as written is for duck fat which of course is the correct choice.
posted by Nelson at 10:19 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


I'm always satisfied by my Achewood-style oven fries (PDF, p.18-19)
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:23 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I think I'll give this a shot, even though I enjoy hauling my (smallish) deep-fryer outside to make a batch for dinner.

I do agree that restaurants have taken to starchy coatings more than I would like. Sometimes I just want the potato by itself.

ATK recipes are almost always a sure thing, in my experience. My pet peeve: they often resemble the sit-kneel-stand-kneel-sit-stand rigamarole of some church services. Make this one component, then let it sit, then combine it with something else, then sear it on the stovetop, then transfer to cookie sheet and put it in the oven, then remove it, separate in this specific way, reserving the drippings, then return it to the oven at a new temp, then take it out, turn it over, place it on a wire rack on a new cookie sheet, add this glaze, and run it under the broiler. Enjoy!
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:25 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Related: Kenji Lopez-Alt's The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe. (It really is.)

It really, really is. I've made this before and they are great. But I've also found if you want to do way less steps - about 25% of the work from that video for about 75% of the result - you can just microwave your diced potatoes in a bowl with some water for a few min before roasting/frying in some generous olive oil. And your potato game is still going to be in *extremely* good shape.

They will not have restaurant-perfect craggly bits that Kenji achieves with the boil+baking soda+shaking trick, but you will still get excellently browned potatoes that are crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Less "steak house" quality and maybe more so "the really good neighborhood diner" which I'm totally completely fine with. Sorry but I'm not going to clean multiple pots and pans every time I make potatoes
posted by windbox at 10:25 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Would this method work for an air fryer? I have one, and my understanding is that it's a little pressure oven

It's a very small convection oven, nothing more. No pressure involved.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:29 AM on June 27 [9 favorites]


But I don't make french fries at home anymore.

A pub I used to go to in the UK had beer mats with a big red warning on one side: 'Don't Drink and Fry'
posted by Flashman at 10:30 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


The reason to make your own oven potatoes at home is that they are made from potato slices, not extruded potato mush, also you can leave the skins on. I make tater tots and so on semi-regularly, so I'm not immune to the joys of extruded potato mush, but it isn't a replacement for home-made.

The best effort-to-results ration for me is to but fingerling or otherwise tiny potatoes, slice them, rinse and dry them and toss them with oil, salt, pepper and onion powder, then bake at 425 for about forty minutes, flipping halfway through. I've tried the Serious Eats recipe and several others including one cornstarch recips, and they're good but not overwhelming.
posted by Frowner at 10:33 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


I've done Kenji's recipe with both sweet and regular potatoes and love it, especially if I take the time to add the garlic/parsley at the end. I skip the boil, though, in favor of steaming them in a covered pot with ~ half-inch of water; goes much faster than boiling a whole pot of water and they dry off faster as well before roughing them up.

The sweet potatoes don't crisp up as reliably as regulars, but it helps to add a little extra oil around them on the sheet and roast at least 400 if not 425. Figured that out after roasting them under a chicken and getting all the drippings added in as bonus.
posted by sapere aude at 10:42 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Not sure why I would want to make my own “oven chips” as opposed to just taking a bag out of the freezer but sure we’re all different.

Even assuming one isn't growing their own a 20lb box of potatoes is less than $20, is in my case filled with potatoes grown within 100km, and doesn't have any plastic packaging associated with it. Even accounting for the oil and starch the purchased version is 2-4X more expensive. And the homemade variety can be easily seasoned in ways not availabe from.commercial varieties.
posted by Mitheral at 10:51 AM on June 27 [11 favorites]


ATK recipes are almost always a sure thing, in my experience. My pet peeve: they often resemble the sit-kneel-stand-kneel-sit-stand rigamarole of some church services. Make this one component, then let it sit, then combine it with something else, then sear it on the stovetop, then transfer to cookie sheet and put it in the oven, then remove it, separate in this specific way, reserving the drippings, then return it to the oven at a new temp, then take it out, turn it over, place it on a wire rack on a new cookie sheet, add this glaze, and run it under the broiler. Enjoy!
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:25 AM on June 27


It's not even the number of steps but the number of dishes involved. I swear I was just commenting on this on Saturday when watching the show. Maybe I'm just lazy, but the thought of piling up so many dishes drives me up the wall. There has only been one, very brief time in my life when I've had a dishwasher, and let me tell you, my cooking and my baking techniques are such that they look to minimize the amount of dirty dishes created. My favourite cake recipe is one bowl, one measuring cup, some measuring spoons and fork to mix (on a good day when all of the ingredients are at the right temperature and perfectly co-operating) or a handheld electric beater.
posted by sardonyx at 11:09 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


synecdoche: I haven't tried the non-vinegar version because he recommended 90 minutes and that's a long time to run a hot oven these days.

Popping in to see if someone mentioned Adam Ragusea's recipe, and I'm glad to see it was linked to! I will confess to making that once or twice right when the video was first posted. I'm not much of a potato fan at all but they did turn out pretty well. Would consider doing again on the rare occasion I had a craving for a crispy potato -- it wasn't difficult to do at all, just time-consuming.
posted by PearlRose at 11:14 AM on June 27



Potacious
posted by mmrtnt at 11:18 AM on June 27


Will be trying this, with potato starch instead of corn. Might try to skimp on the oil as well.

eating potato only is going well.
posted by shenkerism at 11:25 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


ATK is usually quite fussy
posted by twelve cent archie


Alton Brown has entered the chat.
posted by Splunge at 12:13 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I have successfully experimented with steaming them for five minutes or so, then putting them in the oven on 'air fry' mode (which as far as I can tell isn't notably different from convection bake). I like steaming because they're drier straight out of the steamer and seem to take the oil better.
posted by sfred at 1:42 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Related: Kenji Lopez-Alt's The Best Crispy Roast Potatoes Ever Recipe. (It really is.)

I am eating potatoes made from this recipe as I read this thread.
posted by medusa at 1:45 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


There’s a Lithuanian recipe for potato airship dumplings in an earlier post in which one wrings the liquid out of shredded raw potatoes, reserves the liquid and lets it settle, and then uses the settled-out starch to firm up the dumplings.

So: if shopping for cornstarch for crunchy fries, I’d look for potato starch instead.
posted by clew at 2:12 PM on June 27


Try ATK's recipe for baked potatoes. I made one for me and one for my wife, and I swear I wanted to eat three or four more of them. Best baked potato I've ever had.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr-o01qiRYI

Yes, the recipe calls for "brining" the potatoes, which made me roll my eyes at first. But really it's just coating them with salty water so that when the water evaporates the skin is evenly seasoned. There's nothing really tricky here, but they do tell you the correct internal temp, which is much better than guessing or sticking them over and over with a fork. There's a quick trick at the end which worked 100%.

I ate it with butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Didn't try the topping involved in the link, but it also sounds really good.

I'd recommend doing this in cold weather months as there's a lot of oven time involved. But I'm not kidding when I say this was the best baked potato I've ever had. My wife also thought these were outstanding. Super fluffy inside, crisp skin and no leathery parts at all. I really want to make these again, but I'm waiting for autumn.

They NAILED this recipe/method.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:45 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


... it was going to set my kitchen on fire

Yeah, that's the downside of deep frying. The incidence of house fires in Scotland has plummeted since oven chips became a thing
posted by scruss at 2:57 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Starch coatings as a shortcut to French fry crispiness are a travesty and affront to the potato gods, and have totally poisoned the fast food French fry ecosystem.

I agree. I am not a fan of the coated french fries that have gotten more common in recent years. Maybe the results would be better when cooking at home in the oven, but the video didn't sell me on it compared to regular roast potato pieces.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:47 PM on June 27


Nthing Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe. It's replaced mashed potatoes as our go to side with anything roasted/sous vided for a nice weekend dinner.

While the water for the potatoes is coming to a boil, I heat some bacon fat in a large fry pan, add minced jalapenos, minced garlic, and turn off the heat, letting it sit until the potatoes are all bashed up. I mix the potatoes in the oil, add salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, and 45-ish minutes later, I have potatoes so crispy, I no longer require french fries in my life.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:05 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


Our "we sccide tally ate 6 large potatoes in one sitting" recipe has you soak the fries in water, which leached out a great deal of starch. I don't know why this recipe has one put cornstarch on the outside to crisp up instead of using what the potatoes got already 🤷‍♂️ and microwaving it too? Very extra. It'd have to be a damn good oven fry to be worth that step.

When I cut the potato, I carefully ensure each wedge can stand up on its skin side. Then, coating the inside sides with oil salt and pepper, I bake them.

The soaked potatoes, with inner wege not requiring flipping, make the *best* fries
posted by rebent at 5:09 PM on June 27


if you slap Rugy Giuliani it makes the potatoes so much better, no matter what kind.

But I fine chop a clove of garlic, wedge up a potato, toss the potato in a light coating of mayonnaise, then roll the garlic onto them. I spread these on some parchment paper in my toaster oven set to surface of the sun, for around 18 minutes. They are good! 450 degrees, or the same as the temperature you use to make toast. I don't turn them or anything. I imagine they would be just fine in mass quantities, on a baking sheet at 450 degrees, in a pre-heated oven.
posted by Oyéah at 5:29 PM on June 27


Why eat a Wagyu steak when you can go to McDonalds, right?

Because the steak has distinctive features that recommend it, while trying to reproduce, at home, a product which benefits hugely in quality from industrial flash freezing is a mug's game. I'll give you odds that there is a McCain product to beat any home kitchen "oven fry" method. There are lots of foods where the standardised industrial product is just better than the "gourmet" or artisanal experience, because the processes involved are better suited to factory conditions or tools. Mock fried potatoes of this kind are a major group, but puff pastry and peas are other good examples.
posted by howfar at 6:21 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


To me, home-cooked oven fries, no matter the technique, taste better than any frozen brand (even Alexia, which is the best frozen brand). I totally get where it's not worth the effort to make them from scratch at home, and I make frozen potato products all of the time. But to my palate, they're not the equivalent of home-cooked.
posted by mollweide at 6:54 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


and peas are other good examples

Lies and mistruths! There are no processes, industrial or otherwise that can make peas "good."
posted by Ghidorah at 7:03 PM on June 27


There's no doubt that frozen puff pastry saves a lot of effort, but to say that it is better than a well-made fresh version is sacrilege. I guess a lot of people just haven't had a good one. Same for potatoes.

Ever since I started parboiling my fries in heavily salted water before frying, I have to say that restaurant fries are just not very good in comparison.
posted by ssg at 7:29 PM on June 27


About the air fryer potatoes: they are not as good as Kenji's. But, made with duck fat or EVOO and a bit of rosemary or thyme, they are pretty darn good, and if you worry about too much fat in your food or too much grease all over your kitchen, it is totally worth trying.

I don't have those worries, so I don't use my air fryer much and may well soon pass it on to one of my adult children.
posted by mumimor at 1:27 PM on June 28


There are no processes, industrial or otherwise that can make peas "good."

Mushy peas - marrowfats left on the vine until they freeze, then soaked in lye - are a gift from the gods.

I mean, they must be very farty gods given what they do to my insides, but they're amazing
posted by scruss at 3:00 PM on June 28


There are lots of foods where the standardised industrial product is just better than the "gourmet" or artisanal experience, because the processes involved are better suited to factory conditions or tools. Mock fried potatoes of this kind are a major group, but puff pastry and peas are other good examples.

Uh, the best peas are spring peas that are practically still growing when you eat them because they were picked within the last 20 minutes. Really there are few vegetables/fruits that are better for having been selected and grown for industrial purposes than the home grown/small market variety.

Also so of that is going to be personal preference. I mean I know people who prefer KD over from scratch cooked macaroni and cheese but that doesn't make the KD better than the home prepared even though it is essentially impossible to copy KD at home.
posted by Mitheral at 7:43 PM on June 28


Depends on how much sodium, corn-derived additives, and other non-nutritive chemicals you've got lying around the pantry to toss into the pot.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:31 PM on June 28


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