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Easy, crispy oven fries, with rosemary & garlic

Barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s method of parboiling the fries ensures that they bake up crispy on the outside, but fluffy and creamy through the middles — we truly couldn’t distinguish them from their fried counterparts. This is a version with a bit of rosemary and garlic for flavor, but you could most certainly just go with some good salt and they’d be just wonderful. Interestingly, I found that adding fresh rosemary and garlic at the end (rather than cooking them in the oil at the beginning) was the best way to infuse the fries with the most rosemary-garlic flavor, which was counterintuitive to me, but also, pleasingly, the easiest.

Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Peel or scrub the potatoes, depending on your preference. Cut the potatoes into just-shy-of 1/2-inch batons (or narrower, if you like skinny fries). Place in a large pot and cover with an inch or two of water. Set heat to high and set timer for 10 minutes. If the potatoes come to a boil in this time, reduce the heat to medium. (Mine did not; Deb also notes that hers generally do not.) Otherwise, when timer rings, whether or not the potatoes have boiled, test one. You’re looking for a very “al dente” potato — one that is too firm to eat enjoyable, but has no crunch left. A good sign that they’re not too cooked is when you roughly tumble them into a colander, only one or two break.
  2. Meanwhile, coat a large baking sheet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and place it in the oven for a few minutes, so that the oil gets very hot and rolls easily around the pan.
  3. Drain your potatoes and immediately spread them on oiled baking sheet in one layer. (*Note:* You may need to split the batch into two pans, depending on the size of your baking pans.) Drizzle with the last tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes, until golden underneath. Toss potatoes around to encourage them to color evenly and return them to the oven for another 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and toss to evenly distribute. (*Optional:* You can also add a couple tablespoons of grated Parmesan, if you like.) Roast another 5-10 minutes, tossing every 5, until fries are deeply golden. Deb shoots for 30 minutes, and that was what worked for me, too.
  4. Season with more salt and toss with the rosemary while they’re hot, then pile them on a platter and dig in.