MATCHSTICK (pommes allumettes) or SHOESTRING (pommes pailles) POTATOES (for four)

Vegetables, potatoes, fried, matchstcks or shoestrings 1 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Unlike thick-cut fries, which are traditionally fried twice (first to cook them through and then to crisp them), shoestrings are fried only once.  And like potato chips, they taste great at any temperature.”

about 6 cups vegetable oil for frying

2 russet (baking) potatoes (1-½ pounds total)

a deep fat thermometer

an adjustable blade slicer fitted with 1/8 inch julienne blade  (if you don’t have this, a sharp knife will do)

  1. . Working with one potato at a time, peel the potatoes and drop them into a large bowl of ice water.  With a mandoline or similar slicing device cut the potatoes lengthwise into thin (1/8 inch thick) sticks, dropping the sticks as they are cut into the bowl of water.  Stir the potatoes to wash off the excess starch, drain them, and pat them dry between several layers of paper towels.
  1. Heat 2 inches oil to 375* in a wide 5 to 7 quart heavy pot (at least 4 inches deep) over medium heat.
  1. Fry potatoes in 6 small batches, stirring, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. (Don’t try to cook the potatoes in fewer than 6 batches, or they won’t get crisp enough. Return oil to 375* between batches.)  Drain potatoes on paper towels and season with salt.

NOTE:  Potatoes can be cut 3 hours ahead and chilled in a large bowl of cold water.  Drain well and pat dry before frying.   They may be fried 6 hours in advance.  Just before serving spread them in a large roasting pan and heat them in a preheated 325* oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are crisp and hot.

from Gourmet Magazine, March, 2008

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