An Experiment with Oven Fries

Spoiler alert: Don't try this at home

Lindsay, Apr 23, 2015 | Cooking

Tonight I decided to make Oven Fries, which I have enjoyed at my mom's house more times than I can count. She is always declaring how easy they are, so I was excited to pick up a potato and have fries in just a few minutes. But when I read the recipe, I found that I had to parboil the potatoes first. I tend to avoid recipes that have two steps like this, particularly for a side dish—at least on weekdays when I am trying to get dinner finished quickly (I have a very hungry husband). In fact, I have thrown out a few brussel sprout recipes that required parboiling (also why this one is my favorite) .

So, the only thing to do was try the recipe without parboiling the potatoes first. I thought I would beat the system by cutting the potatoes very small (think McDonald's). Because I knew this was a risky experiment and really did want the fries, I also followed the recipe for the majority of the sliced potatoes, but cut them all smaller than the recipe called for.

Here's what I discovered:

The "experiment fries" browned about twice as fast as the regular ones (which seemed at first like a bonus), didn't absorb the olive oil so tasted really bland and were somewhere between crispy and cardboard-y. Even with a lot of ketchup, they were only tolerable.

It is a very bad idea to cut the fries very small because they fall apart when you parboil them and you have to flip each one of them individually! Ideally the fries would be on the wider side, but not very thick (you are only going to flip once, so only two sides will brown well).

In conclusion, my experiment failed. And the parboiling wasn't so bad. And the (real) fries were incredible. And my mother is always right.

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