French fries are one of America’s favorite foods. But these deep-fried strips of goodness are loaded with fat and salt. So, the search is on for a healthier french fry.
One method tried a few years ago was to find a better cooking medium. Combining the oil with other substances reduced the amount of fat absorbed by the potatoes. The result was not good. Any more than a few fries resulted in what we might call intestinal distress and lots of messed up underwear.
If you don’t want to fry the potatoes, the only obvious alternative is to use the oven. But many of you know that while those might taste good, they won’t be very crispy. We can fix that.
Begin with about 6 potatoes. Yukon Golds work well for this method. You will also need a large baking sheet or cookie sheet and some cooking spray. Olive oil, sugar, and spices like garlic powder, salt, and pepper are also going to be used. You can replace the garlic with something else, like paprika or cayenne, if you like.
Cut the potatoes into thick planks, like steak fries. You can peel them first if you want. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle with sugar. Toss them a little to make sure the sugar touches all the fries. Don’t worry, they won’t be sweet. The sugar will draw out the moisture in the potatoes. Just let them sit in the colander and drain for about a half hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF and thoroughly coat the baking sheet with cooking spray. When the liquid stops dripping out of the potato slices, empty them onto clean towels or paper towels and dry them well. Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl or a resealable plastic bag. Add a 1/4 cup of olive oil, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Adjust the amounts for your taste. Mix well.
Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on the baking sheet, leaving as much space as you can around each slice. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the potato slices over and bake for another 20 minutes until crisp and brown.
Are these fat-free? No. But we have reduced the amount of fat enormously. Are they the same as what comes out of the frier at your favorite fat fast food joint? No. But they’re pretty good and a lot healthier.