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"Cook's Illustrated" Cold Oil French Fries


Pierogi
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About a month ago, I tried the method for cold oil French fries published in the CI of July/August 2009. It is supposedly based on the method developed by Joel Robuchon. I was reminded that I'd wanted to try it after seeing an "America's Test Kitchen" episode that featured the fries on one of the local PBS stations.

In theory, I think it should've worked very well. But I was less than dazzled with the results, I think because I was trying to scale down the recipe.

The CI method is supposed to serve 3-4. I was cooking for me only, and my cholesterol won't let me (even though my heart of hearts might think I could) eat 3 servings of fries. So I cut the amount of potatoes and oil in half. But the sturdiest pot I have is my 7&1/2 quart LeCruset, so I used that.

You're supposed to let the potatoes go for about 15 minutes in the cold oil, over high heat until the surface "sets", then stir, and cook another 10-15 minutes until the potato sticks brown. What I found was, that after 10 minutes, the exterior of the potato sticks had already browned pretty thoroughly, and were in danger of burning. But the interior hadn't cooked. I drastically lowered the heat, and let them go for another 5 mintues or so, but they got oil-logged in that process, and the final fries were soggy, but had potential.

I'm thinking because of the reduced volume of the oil and potatoes, I should have used a smaller pan. But I'm also thinking maybe because of the smaller volume of oil and potatoes, that a lower temperature in the LeCruset may have worked. Or should I use a smaller pan AND reduced temperature?

BTW, I also have 3 quart and 5 quart Calphalon saucepans, and a 2 quart Tar-jay cheapo clad stainless steel saucepan, which is actually surprisingly hefty, that I could use in lieu of the LeCruset.

Advice, anyone? I really would like to make good home-made fries, but I am not willing to fuss with the whole deep-frying scene. The ones I made with this method were, frankly, not that much better than frozen Ore-Idas shallow-fried in a non-stick skillet.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I don't have an answer for you, but I can share in your observation of the timing being slightly off (cooking too quickly). I made the full batch using their recipe and a le creuset, and ended up pulling them out about 5 minutes earlier than the recipe called for. They were cooked properly inside though, and I did not find them to be soggy...quite delicious actually.

Here's a pic of them with sous vide filet...

vZPd0.jpg

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Try some combination of lowering the heat (if I recall, I've done this somewhere between medium and medium-high) and cutting the fries a little thinner, in an attempt to stretch out the time it takes to reach frying heat so that the insides cook fully.

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