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Cold-Fry Frites

By Patricia Wells April/May 2018 Issue From Moveable Feast Season 5, Ep.4

Servings: 6 to 12

One pot, one cooking session, no blanching, no double frying, no electric deep-fat fryer, no thermometer.  Best of all, you end up with fries with a moist, creamy interior, an intense potato flavor, and a perfectly crisp, golden, non-oily exterior that sends all of us into ecstasy.


  • 3 lb. russet potatoes
  • 3 qt. sunflower, vegetable, or canola oil
  • Kosher salt, as needed


  • Rinse the potatoes, peel, and rinse again. Cut each potato lengthwise into disks about 3/8-inch-thick, then cut these disks lengthwise into sticks about 3/8-inch-thick. (Precision is not essential here: I love the tiny, crunchy, almost-burned bits that emerge from the fryer.)
  • Soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, changing the water when it becomes cloudy, until the water remains clear (at least three times). Drain the potatoes and put them in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry with additional paper towels.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a 7 qt. Dutch oven and set it on the stove. Pour the oil over the potatoes. Do not cover the pot. Set the heat to high, and stirring the potatoes gently with a metal spoon to distribute and prevent sticking, bring the oil to a boil.  (The oil should move from a peppy simmer to a boil in 7 to 9 minutes.) When the oil starts to boil, set a timer for 17 minutes. Stir the potatoes very gently every 3 to 4 minutes and lower the heat to medium, if necessary to keep the oil from boiling over the pot.
  • After 17 minutes, the potatoes should be slightly golden. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently. Resist the urge to remove them from the oil too soon. When the fries are a deep golden brown, taste one to make sure they are crisp and firm on the outside with a creamy interior. Transfer the fries with the wire skimmer or slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined tray to drain. Season with salt and serve immediately.


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  • LFPSTP | 05/22/2018

    I too, so wanted these to work. They didn't. After the allotted time (17 minutes + 4 more minutes), they were not the deep golden brown mentioned in the recipe. I left them in until they were the color of the fries in the photo and what we had at dinner looked great, but were an odd combination of somewhat crunchy yet tough exterior and a dry, flabby interior. Terribly disappointed. If our steak wasn't already done, I would have dragged a bag of frozen fries out of the freezer to oven bake. I did save the oil and will give the recipe one more try. Details: only 2 of us for dinner so used 2 large Russet potatoes, fried in fresh peanut oil in a 5 qt. heavy enamel dutch oven. For now, zero stars.

  • user-4506647 | 04/11/2018

    I so, so wanted the believe in the logic of this recipe. With two athletic boys, French fries are a staple and a favorite. But the two step processs, never mind soaking and de-starching, is a pain. So I read, ear-marked and excitedly made the fries in this recipe. No dice. Pale, anemic, no where near the picture in the magazine. I cooked for 30+ min and no color. I was severely disappointed in a publication that most always provide quality and leadership. Sorry, Patricia! I wanted to believe!

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