By Spencer Ackerman
I’ll sidestep my friend Ben Miller’s narrowminded objections to Super Bowl salads for the time being and focus on his guide to french fries. You see how many steps you’ll have to climb to eat your fries? What’s more, most of us don’t have preternatural Millerlike gifts of precision, so when it comes to dealing with scalding oil, we’re going to hurt ourselves and/or get improperly fried fries. As the infomercial says: there’s got to be a better way.
There is. Don’t fry your fries. Bake them. Simple and plain. You see how golden and delicious the fries looked in the picture for my Super Bowl post? There’s not a drop of oil on them, which is healthier in any case. When it comes to frying potatoes at home, take Johnny Thunders’ advice and don’t try.For all the reasons Ben elucidates in his post, hot oil is a volatile substance. He soldiers through. I say it’s not worth it. The worst thing that can happen to your fries is that you end up tasting oil and not potato. You’ll never run into that problem if you cut out the oil.
Instead, set your oven to 400 degrees. While it’s warming, peel — or don’t, if you like skin on your fries — and cut your potatoes to the desired thickness. Try to keep your cuts uniform, but if you’re off by a bit, don’t worry about it. Take generous portions of salt and pepper and, if you like, garlic salt, and toss them in a Ziploc bag with your potatoes. Shake well to coat. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spritz it with cooking spray so your fries won’t stick to the sheet when they’re done. Place the fries in a single layer on the sheet and put the sheet in the oven for 45 minutes. If you want something nice and aromatic, stick a few sprigs of rosemary on the sheet as well. You’re done.
When it’s time to eat, you’ll taste nothing but delicious, crisp, salty potato (and garlic, if you used it). There won’t be any oil sopping around your stomach — more room for beer — or greasy pot to clean. People will ask you how you got your fries to come out so pleasantly non-greasy. You’ll be like I’m just that good.