You may be asking yourself what gadgets have to do with french fries? Lots. Once I purchased a mandolin it changed everything about how I made oven fries. They now turn out perfectly every time. They key is having evenly cut potatoes; all the same size to ensure even cooking. While you most definitely don’t need a mandolin, I just personally found it impossible to cut potatoes evenly, thus producing unevenly cooked fries. The second thing that I found to cooking great oven fries…parchment paper. I’m not sure why I never thought of it before- so simple right? I would always get fries that stuck to the bottom of the sheet pan, would rip and crumble while flipping or removing from the pan. The parchment allows them to still brown, but not stick. And lastly, a blast of heat from the broiler at the end gives the fries a nice brown and crisp exterior while maintaining a nice, soft creamy interior.
Can I be honest? I love gadgets. I mean I really love gadgets. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. My earliest gadget memory was this Starfrit apple peeler. I have no idea how I acquired it, all I remember is that it didn’t really do a good job of peeling the apples; it constantly missed large spots of skin, mainly due to the fact that an apple is so rarely perfectly round. It didn’t matter though, I insisted on using it even when my mom insisted that I didn’t. t think I made more apple pies that season than I care to remember. The thing that I think is most appealing about gadgets is the overwhelming belief that they will somehow make the task easier, and quicker; while most times doing the exact opposite. Over the last few years I’ve really tried to curb my gadget buying in an attempt to stop the overflow of appliances, and gadgets that are now taking over my draws and cupboards, but when the opportunity presented itself to buy a mandolin in order to make potatoes au gratin, I couldn’t say no. I needed it- after all, there was no way to cut potatoes that thin by hand.
And the ketchup. It’s tangy and sweet, and tastes way better than the stuff from a squeeze bottle. Instead of using white vinegar for the ketchup I opted to use a combination of apple cider vinegar (which is sweeter), and red wine vinegar. The addition of onion and fresh garlic give it a wonderful flavour, and make it a perfect accompaniment to these fries.
Perfect Oven Fries with Homemade Ketchup
Ketchup yields about 2 cups, 2-3 servings fries
1 pound russet (baking) potatoes, scrubbed, about 2
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional for sprinkling after cooking
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
**sometimes I add a little cayenne for a little spice
Notes: I cut the above fries into 1/4″ sticks, you can cut them at 1/2″ as well, just adjust baking time accordingly.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and adjust rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Scrub and dry potatoes well. Cut potatoes into even 1/4″ or 1/2″ sticks. In a bowl, or on the parchment paper, drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and the salt, garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper. Toss with your hands to evenly coat the fries. Spread the fries evenly on the baking sheet.
3. Bake for about 20 -25 minutes, flipping half way through. Turn the broiler on and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle a little more salt.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably unsalted san martzano or italian
1. In a medium saucepan, over medium- high heat, heat the olive oil, add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add both vinegars, sugar, salt, and mustard. Bring to a boil. Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to cook until the sauce has reduced by about half, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree in food processor, blender, or with immersion blender (my choice), until smooth.
Storage: Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.
Ketchup adapted from TLC; Kitchen Boss