Knowing the way. (OVEN FRIES)

January 5, 2013


Sometimes for work I must cook in foreign kitchens. I arm myself with the essentials and pray that the basics will be there waiting for me. I like these situations, they always behold a MacGuyver element, a challenging surprise every time.

What I love is my own kitchen. I know where all the secret tools and booze are, my spice rack is vast and I am a pro at overloading my own dishwasher just right. One of the best features is my crappy old, burnt out oven. Even though it runs a little hot*, I know exactly how to get the results I want. There are no fancy selections like convection, roast or convection roast or bake. There is one dial for the temperature and the option to broil if you’re feeling lucky. Gentle evenness for delicate baked goods happens on the rack one up from the middle. The quicker and more intense the cooking needs to be, the lower I put the rack (the heat source is on the bottom of the oven). My trick for extreme levels of crispy brown, caramelization is placing the baking tray directly on the floor of the oven.

This is how I make the best oven fries in town. Potatoes sliced and dressed in a good cooking oil and sprinkled well with salt on a naked baking sheet. Jack that oven up to 400F (which is really 425F in my oven)* and throw the baking sheet straight on the bottom. Check once for golden brownness after about 10-12 minutes and flip using a good spatula… but only do this if the golden color was achieved. If they are still pale, let them stay put. After flipping, continue to bake until tender for another 6-10 minutes I guess?! Let your senses be your guide.

ovenfries_lilhandA good snack for everyone.

* PRO CHEF TIP OF THE WEEK: is your oven wonky? Get yerself an oven thermometer! Never burn the bottom of those Christmas cookies again. Just stick it in there and don’t worry about it.



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