The potato, formerly known as French Fries
Air fries or at least induction or blown heating to reduce the oil needed to cook something. Air baking, Air Cooking, or Air Frying.
Have you ever said “I’d bake more dishes” … , or “. . .use less oil, if it were faster” ? Well now it is! Usually it takes 45 minutes to bake your fries in the oven, & most of the time, it tastes that way. You can add some oil, but there you go; if you add some oil you may as well shallow fry them.
In this series, I’m talking about the Ninja product known as the Foodi*, & coming up with real world recipes for us to use. Feel free to use your own air fryer, of course, but I’d go & get one of these bad boys as soon as possible & stop playing games.
This recipe is for fries (formerly known as French Fries). We’ll start off with those wonderfully packaged bags from the freezer section. Home made fries are next, as they need a little more space to talk about.
1 “bag” of frozen French fries
Real easy ingredients. You can use any kind that you like. Generally I like crinkle cut. The fresh homemade fries will be straight & steak (fat) cut.
Preheating makes anything cook better. So preheat for 5 minutes while you get everything together. I probably have thrown out more fries in an hour than most people make in a year; so I’m going to let you in on a trade secret (promise you won’t tell).
The best way to cook fries is to “slack” them. That is, bring them to room temp. Not just defrost or thaw them. Wanna do that at home? Take one plate of fries & put them in the microwave for 1 minute. Thirty seconds longer for those sporting the 700 watt nukers. Make sure your fries aren’t stuck together.
A couple things happen when you stop using frozen fries. Not that the Board of Health will want you to put a time on it, I mean at home. You’ll stop that popping & snapping of ice crystals exploding in high heat, that’s for sure.
The main thing is that they will cook & crisp much better, & quicker. Seriously, that’s why fast food places do it. Sarah, no cheating & telling your chef that you found a great way to cook fries. You’ll throw the timing off during the season rush, & know my secret to fast fries.
Put them in the air crisp basket. You can put them in one at a time, or just dump them in. You can do this for one serving or a whole bunch. Set the temp to 360° & the time to 10 minutes. Go whip up a fry sauce or something. If you like them more than golden (like brown), increase the temp to 375°F. Temps above that are going to scorch things.
That’s it baby, no oil needed. You can add oil if you’d like, for a little more “fry” to it, but you don’t need to. To oil, just drizzle oil over the top & toss the fries so that all sides are oiled.
When you’re making more than a plate of fries, like a pound; you’ll want to increase the time to 12, & shake or flip the fries at about 8 minutes. Pre-heating is suggested.
Seasoning these (no oil) fries is kind of silly, as salt/seasoning isn’t going to stick to a dry fry. You’ll want to grind the seasoning mix into a powder, or have the salt as a fine grain. To help the seasoning stick, you can mist your cooked fries with water, or of course cook them with a little oil.
You can by the way, pre-season them.
Before you “slack” (defrost) your fries, coat them with your seasoning mix. What ever crystals of frost, will become water & help the seasoning to cling. I do not suggest using pepper of any kind, when cooking unless you have a well ventilated space.
Now, for home cut fries. Either thin or steak cut (thick), can be done here as well.
1-2 Potatoes Russet, Sweet, Yukon & so on (the New potato tends to fall apart).
Optional to make brine
4 Tbsp table salt
1 quart of water
1 large potato will make about 3-4 good sized batches of fries. You can either peel them or leave the skin on, but certainly wash & scrub the skin clean. Not just the dirt & fertilizer that they grow in, but for “little Johnny’s” grubby hands & they’re being kicked to the floor a few times.
If you want uniform, & don’t want spears, cut the ends of the potato off & put those in the compost.
Slice down & make several cuts down the length of the potato. Now you can size each of those cuts to the thickness that you like.
If you’re going to use that neat insert on your mandolin, this would be a great time to bring it out & make some badd azz fries.
If you’ve wanted to try your hand at shoe string potatoes, using the Ninja Foodi is the best way to do this (adjust the cooking time for thinner fries).
Soaking them in a brine (salt & water) for 20-30 minutes before hand, wicks out the starch & makes for a better tasting fry. A fair rule of thumb is 4 Tablespoons of salt to 1 quart of water.
Need to cut down on the salt (me too); just stick them in water. Be sure to have the water cover them completely.
If you don’t want to soak them, oil them. The Russet especially, is going to taste a bit dry & bland. Remember, bagged fries are processed & blanched before bagging. I do suggest using Russet potatoes as a last resort, as there are many more & better potatoes for making fries than the Russet. But “we” all have them handy, don’t we ;}).
The Russet I chose was a nice sized one, for baking. I like number 3’s & above especially for baked potatoes (too many years in the kitchen); as well as for cooking. You don’t have to peel or use so many potatoes, when they are huge.
Once they have soaked, remove them from the bath & pat dry. Place in them in the (internal) air basket.
I suggest placing them like ‘pick up’ sticks or lay them like logs for a fire. You want as much of the hot air to go over them. You can just dump them in, but you’ll want to flip or shake them around half of the way into cooking.
Cook the “regular” ones at 360°F for 10 minutes (with preheating), & the steak fries at 375°F for 15 minutes (with preheating). I like my fries more brown than golden so do sneak a peek about 8 & 10 minutes into cooking. This is also a great time to flip or turn your fries for the best cooking practices.
A great feature on the Foodi, is that you can lift the lid while it’s cooking!
Plate & serve. If you like fry sauce, give this one a try here (opens in a new window).
*Foodi pressure cooker, slow cooker, air fryer, steamer, broiler, baker.