Chef Lena Tries 10 Of The Weirdest French Fry Recipes To Find The Perfect One

Chef Lena Tries 10 Of The Weirdest French Fry Recipes To Find The Perfect One

November 2, 2019 100 By William Morgan


(upbeat synthesizer music)
– I’m very excited because
today I’m on a journey
to make the perfect french fry.
It smells really bad.
(eerie music)
– Why?
(fry crunches)
(woman laughs)
– There is no time when I
wouldn’t eat a french fry.
You could wake me up in
the middle of the night
and be like, “I made
some really good fries,”
and I’d be like, “Yeah, sure.”
I grew up with Steak
‘n Shake french fries,
which are really skinny and crunchy,
but I love all types.
I even like bad fries sometimes
if I’m drunk. (laughs)
There’s a lot of different
ways to make french fries,
and I’m gonna try to tackle
as many of them as I can
and do some comparing.
I’ve read a lot of conflicting
information on the internet
about what makes a fry so crunchy.
Some say soaking in salt water,
some say in vinegar.
I’ve seen a couple pickle juice posts.
One thing that everyone seems
to agree on is that russets
are the best potatoes
for the job.
I’ve hand cut them into
quarter inch thick fries,
and I’ve treated them in
several different ways.
Some were soaked with salt.
Some were soaked with vinegar.
Some with pickle brine,
and then some in just plain water.
And I’m also going to test
one that I’ve just cut fresh.
I must explain my sticky note situation.
We’ve had these in the kitchen
for as long as I’ve worked
here, so like 2 1/2 years.
I use them almost every day
and somehow we never run out,
but I’ve never seen new ones come in.
But I love them.
It makes everything kind of a joke.
It’s like whatever you
write’s the punch line.
I am going to heat up some canola oil,
and we will start our
process of double frying.
The ones that I soaked
just straight up in water,
they don’t have much bend.
They’re pretty stiff.
But the ones I soaked in pickle juice
have a really nice amount of bend.
And then the ones that I soaked
in salt are like crazy bendy,
even like this very thick fry.
It’s wild.
I’m really excited to see the difference.
So the first one we’re
doing is with water.
We’re gonna do a double fry method.
We start at a low
temperature, so like 325.
We fry the potatoes until
they’re soft on the inside,
and then we bring the heat up
and we fry them again very hot
and that will create the crispy crust.
We’re doing the one with salt.
Then the one with vinegar.
And then the one with pickle brine.
They all look about the same,
and the control one
that I didn’t soak at all got a lot darker
with those starches on the outside.
So now our second round,
we’re deep frying to make them crispy.
So I’m going to jack the
temperature up to 375,
and we’re gonna cook them until crisp
and then give them a taste
and season them with salt obviously.
(upbeat synthesizer music)
Let’s start with water.
– Okay.
– Not crispy on the outside.
The inside is not bad.
– Mm, these taste way better
than they look like they would taste.
– These are with salt.
– Okay, yes, crunch.
– The crunch is coming.
The issue with mine is like
the potato isn’t fluffy.
– [June] I think that’s the classic look.
– It is very classic.
The surface of the fry looks really good.
– Blistery.
– Yeah.
– [June] Bubbly, like there’s air inside.
A much nicer crunch too, you can hear.
– [Lena] Yeah.
– [June] The snap or crunch.
– Can you taste the vinegar?
– I can’t.
If you didn’t tell me you
marinated them in vinegar,
I wouldn’t have and I
probably still can’t.
– Yeah.
– But there is something
blander about this
compared to this flavor.
– Yeah.
– It’s not quite as potatoey.
– Yeah, totally.
– Tell me about the control.
– I just cut them and put
them straight into the fryer.
I didn’t rinse off–
– No rinse.
– the starch or anything.
And as you can see,
they turned a slightly unappealing color.
– I think because we didn’t
wash off any of the starch,
it’s like all the sugars
that are still on there
just kind of caramelized very quickly.
The inside tastes wrong,
not in terms of texture
but in terms of taste,
like when you undercook your potatoes
by three or four minutes.
This is what I’ve been
– [Lena] Pickle brine.
– looking forward to.
– I think I’m gonna go
for this one and this one.
(Lena laughs)
Look at that, bubbles on the surface.
Blisters between the bubbles.
– It tastes a lot like pickle.
– Even if we don’t go
forward with this one
for your classic potato fry,
this needs to be a recipes.
– Yeah, it’s good.
It really does taste like a pickle.
– I think we can sell this at Shake Shack.
– Oh yeah, pickle fries.
– The vinegar I think
wins for classic fry.
The overall winner is the classic.
Straight after you take
them out of the brine,
they’re still kind of wet,
so they will hold onto the salt better.
And then you could pat them dry
like you pat these dry before frying.
– Thank you for your advice.
I will feed you more fries soon.
I’m so sorry. (laughs)
(chime sounding)
Vinegar is the best.
We loved it, but it
needed a little flavor.
Are people gonna think I’m
psycho for taking notes
with a red Sharpie? (laughs)
It’s just all we have.
I’m sorry.
I’m excited, but I also
have a stomachache,
and I need (sighs) water.
Water!
(upbeat music)
Day two, french fries, super stoked.
I’m wearing my lucky tee
for my favorite boardwalk
fries place in Delaware.
Let’s get going.
We already know that we
wanna brine them in vinegar,
but I’m trying a couple different methods
for adding the salt.
Those hae been brining in
vinegar, a vinegar solution,
for half an hour, and I just drained them
and dumped them out.
So we’re adding salt to draw
out some of the moisture,
and then I’m gonna just dab
them dry with a paper towel
before we fry them.
These guys I brined for 20
minutes in the vinegar solution,
added some salt to the
mix and then brined it
for 10 more minutes.
Same brine time, but
these just had salt added
a little bit later in the brine.
We’re gonna double fry both of these,
taste them, see which
one has better flavor
and then move on to our next test.
Let’s do it.
We’re gonna bring it up to
325 for that initial fry,
and then we’ll hit them
again in the 375 oil.
(upbeat synthesizer music)
So our first fry is done.
They look really good.
So I’m gonna bump up the temp to 375,
and then we’re gonna fry ’em again
and hit ’em with some salt.
First fry of the day, 12:00.
That’s an appropriate time to eat a fry.
We’re starting with our salt
and vinegar brined fries.
They look nice, definitely
crunchy on the outside.
I’m gonna give ’em a try.
Mm, already better than I think any
of the ones we did last time.
Nice and creamy on the inside.
I’m into it.
They’re very tender on the inside,
which is really nice.
This is a good fry.
Now, we’re testing the ones
that we sprinkled with salt
and then dabbed dry.
Also looking, honestly pretty
identical to the other ones.
Ooh, very creamy on the inside.
Mm.
I think you’re gonna like these better.
Mm.
– Mm, I like the potato taste.
– Yeah, they’re a lot potatoeyer.
I think drawing out some of
that moisture really helped.
This was the one we sprinkled with salt.
This was June’s idea,
’cause June’s a genius.
I think that works.
I think I like this method better.
I’m gonna stop eating fries now,
because I’m so hot and we
have to eat so many more.
I’m just gonna finish this one.
So now that we have our method down,
I have three oils that
I wanna test them in.
I’m just gonna start cutting some fries.
I have prepped my potatoes,
and I’m ready to fry.
I have three oils.
One we are familiar with, but
I’m just frying up a batch
so we can compare and contrast.
So this is the vegetable oil
that we’ve been frying in.
And then I have this pot
here for our peanut oil.
And when we’re done frying both of these,
I’ll do the last batch with duck fat.
Duck fat is super expensive.
This jar was $10.
So it’s definitely a splurge
if you wanna make your fries with this.
It smells like fried chicken a little bit.
It does smell a little bit gamey.
It’s just straight up duck fat.
Oh my god,
it looks so intense.
– Oh my gosh.
– $15 worth of duck fat and
like 40 cents of potatoes.
(funky upbeat music)
It smells really bad.
It smells like Jell-O to me.
It smells like gelatin
when you’re like soaking, ugh.
To me it smells like gelatin.
– Why?
– There she is.
(June laughs)
Help us please.
– [June] You can use it now, 2019.
– Yeah, this is 2020.
It’s fine, just smells terrible.
I mean, they look beautiful,
but hopefully the smell will have cleared
by the time Lauren tastes it,
so she isn’t swayed by the fragrance.
It comes from this one.
– It smells awful. (laughs)
– It smells so bad.
– I was so excited for duck fat too.
– I know.
– Now I’m like a little scared.
– They still look really good, but yeah.
– I would just like to note,
the fry size is perfect.
– Oh thank you.
– I hate super thick fries.
– I’m loving hearing
everyone’s fry preference.
These I’ve technically had before.
– Okay.
– But.
– Yum.
– Yeah.
– You can hear it.
– Yeah.
They’ve definitely got some crunch.
– Perfect amount of salt.
– Thank you.
– They’re like a better
McDonald’s fry almost.
– Thank you, that’s a great–
– I love McDonald’s fries.
(Lena laughs)
I love those.
– So this is peanut oil,
which everyone has told
me is like the best.
– I don’t know if I taste
a significant difference.
– Yeah, the surface of these looks
a little more blistered, but–
– [Lauren] Are these
ones less greasy maybe?
– I can’t find any major difference.
The flavor seems the same.
– [Lauren] These are the dreaded duck fat.
– Oh well.
– They’re really good.
– They are good. (laughs)
The crunch on the outside is so nice.
We fried this many fries in
$15 worth of duck fat, so.
– I would definitely not
wanna buy $15 worth of fat.
It tastes like fancier.
– Yeah, yeah.
– For sure.
– I also feel like I couldn’t
finish a basket of those
the way I can polish off.
I mean they’re heavy, but they’re good.
Verdict, I mean, I think
peanut might win by a hair.
That’s show I feel.
– Yeah, I have no opinion.
I don’t know.
I think I would use either.
– Yeah.
Well that’s good, that’s a good–
– It’s the same temperature
and cooking time right?
– Yeah.
– But I do agree, these ones seem,
whether or not it’s that
much of a difference
of what you fried first,
these ones do seem a little bit crispier.
So, yeah, I’ll always go
for the crispier ones.
– Stay tuned, I’ll be bringing
you a lot of fries later.
– Perfect, thank you.
– Thank you.
(upbeat synthesizer music)
Once you’ve patted your fries dry,
drain ’em and then bring our oil up to 375
and fry them for four minutes more.
So now we’re gonna pop them into a bowl
lined with a paper towel,
and we’re just gonna shake
off that excess grease,
salt them, plate them, and eat them.
They’re really good.
I love the exterior a lot.
They get really bubbly and
crispy all around the outside.
They’ve got sort of a
blistered look to them,
which is very appealing.
I’m gonna try it without ketchup.
Mm.
Super creamy and smooth on the inside.
They’re not like those hollow fries
that when you bite in,
there’s nothing in the middle.
It’s a good fry.
I love fries.
I just do.
Wanna try some fries?
– Yeah.
Oh my gosh.
– You made this?
– Ketchup and mayo. (laughs)
– Ketchup and mayo, huh?
– Aren’t they good?
– Yeah, they look like bagged fries.
– I just enjoy eating them.
They’re fantastic.
– Thank you.
– Once you have fries like
this you can’t go back.
– Is it like Five Guys?
Is that the restaurant for these?
– They are like Five Guys.
– Yeah.
(fry crunches)
– Oh.
(women laugh)
– I love these fries.