French fries, as lots of folks will tell you, are not really French. But that’s OK — I studied in France for a year and they had something called a “sandwich americain,” which is a steak and cheese with fries on it. We never put fries on our sandwiches here — although it’s not a bad idea. Anyhow, when you make fries in the oven, it takes them to the next level. Not only are they not French, they’re also not fried.
Oven fries are an easy way to make a delicious side dish. There’s no hot oil to deal with, and all the work happens up front. Once they’re in the oven, you don’t have to do anything but shake them a few times until you’re ready to eat. That frees you up to do other things like make burgers. And in the end, they’re still salty and delicious.
Oven Fries with Malt Vinegar
4-5 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4 – 1/2″ fries
A neutral oil, like sunflower or vegetable
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, rinse the potatoes with cold water, drain, rinse again and drain again. It’s important to rinse more than once to remove all the starch. This keeps them from being soggy. Place them on a paper towel and pat dry.
Arrange the potatoes on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil (better to have too little than too much), and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven. Every 10 minutes, pull them out and give them a shake. After 25-30 minutes, start checking to see if they are done, although it could take as long as 40 minutes.
When they are nicely browned, pull them, dump them in a brown paper bag, sprinkle a little more salt and the malt vinegar. Give the bag a good shake, and serve.