First of the Series: French Fries with Fun Toppings

She has mastered the art of cheese and potato love.

As promised in a recent post, I bring you the first installment of a multi-part series on 2012 Food Trends to Try at Home!  Yay!

I have so many ideas banging around in my brain for the french fries, I am thinking that this category will end up being a sub-multi-part-series.  Confused yet?  Maybe I’ll just go balls-to-the-wall and make multiple installments for all five trends!  Let’s get crazy up in hurr!

Perhaps I’m getting a little carried away…  I’ll start out slow and first just give the basic method I like to use for french fries at home.  I make these a lot because my kids really like french fries (hell, who doesn’t, right?  Mama ain’t raisin’ no fools!) and I like to think these are a little healthier since they aren’t really fried.  I call it a method, rather than a recipe, because, really, there’s not much to it.  It’s a pretty common-sense kinda preparation but you just never know, maybe it might spark something for you and then you can be all full of fun foodie ideas like me!

A side note in defense of potatoes:  They really got a bad rap in the late ’90’s/early 2K’s with the low-carb craze.  Fact is, they offer a lot of nutritional benefits.  They are low-cal and high fiber, offer lots of vitamins C and B6, phytochemicals, iron, copper, and other trace minerals, and they are particularly good for cardiovascular health.  So feel good about oven fries!

You can do these just salted and dipped in ketchup for a classic prep, but today I am going to show you my take on that familiar classic we all know and love:

Crab Fries!

(Don’t worry, nerds, I have some more creative and innovative ideas up my sleeve too.  Stay tuned, I’m just trying to pace myself here!)

…the humble potato… so unassuming yet so soul-satisfying!

Figure about one to one and a half potatoes per person, depending upon the size of the potato, and also upon how hungry you are.  A lot of what I’ve read/heard has led me to believe that starchy russet potatoes are the only way to go for something like this, but, I can report with authority, based on tireless research, that waxier potatoes like yukon golds work equally well, if not better, as do red bliss.  So please, just use whatever you have on hand; you really can’t go wrong.

Crank your oven to 425 degrees and get out your biggest sheet pan.  Line it with parchment.

(Can someone please buy me a clue about my sheet pan/parchment situation?  Why does the parchment never fit the pan?  Am I buying the wrong parchment?  Or do I have some kind of wierd, Canadian-size pans?  I need some help here…)

Slice your potatoes and then cut them into fries.  (I don’t bother peeling them.  I think this somehow makes them healthier.  I must have heard somewhere that the peel has a lot of vitamins and minerals… also it tastes good.  More potato-y.)  Try to keep the size uniform unless you are one of those free-spirited hippie-types who likes a different degree of doneness for every fry.  (Hey, that’s one way to keep life exciting!)

Toss them into a big bowl and drizzle them with enough olive oil to coat them.  Sprinkle with as much crab seasoning as you like and toss them around so they get all slick with oil and crabby all over.

Tumble them onto the baking sheet and arrange them in one even layer.  Try to give them some room to breathe so the heat can circulate around each fry and they crisp rather than steam.  Mine are actually more crowded than I like.  If you are doing even a slightly bigger batch than this you should probably use more than one pan.

Put them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until you see that they are getting brown on the bottom.

…these bad-boys are ready for a flip…

Flip them around with a spatula so the other side gets brown, too, and roast for another 15 minutes or so.

Serve with cheese sauce, recipe follows:

Cheese Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then sprinkle the flour over it…

and stir together.  You get a wierd paste, known in the food nerd realm as “roux” (rhymes with “woo-hoo!).

Slowly whisk in the milk until there are no lumps.  As the mixture comes to a simmer, you will notice it becoming thicker.  Now you have a bechamel.

Add in the mozzarella…

stir and melt it in, season, and you have a sauce mornay.

Whew!  Three food-nerd-vocab-terms in one quick recipe!  I think that’s a record for me…

So now you have a healthier take on that spicy, cheesy delight of sporting-event glory, and you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, any time your heart desires.

Keep the oven fry recipe in your back pocket, we’ll be referring back to it in upcoming posts featuring more fun toppings that are original, innovative, creative, and of course, delicious!

Click here for the Intro to the Series
Click here for the Second of the Series
Click here for the Third of the Series

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7 thoughts on “First of the Series: French Fries with Fun Toppings

  1. Parchment dilemma – what brand are you using? I’ve found that Reynolds brand is on the large size – but fits my big cookie sheets and not my typical sized cookie baking sheet. Wilton makes a smaller size that will probably fit your Canadian size pan. 🙂
    In the end I always end up using my Silpat – I’m in love with that thing!

  2. I LOVE my silpat! I bought it about 6-7 years ago and it’s still going strong. I’ve never had an issue cleaning it, as nothing sticks to it!
    Only problem I’ve had, is that it makes cookies a bit darker on the bottom. You’d thing I would have learned to adjust my baking times, but it always slips my mind.

  3. hey, thanks for the fry idea. I didn’t use all the ingredients you suggested, but it was nice to give my kids fries that are at least somewhat healthy! Enjoy reading your blog.

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