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Recipe Friday: Fresh French Fries!

National French Fry Day is coming up on July 13th! Thin, crisp and oh-so indulgent, there is nothing quite as addictive as french fries. 

While Thomas Jefferson is generally credited with  introducing the French fry to America, the the true originiator of the French fry (Belgium or France) is oftentime hotly debated. 

The Belgian Contribution

Some claim that fries originated in Belgium, where villagers along the River Meuse traditionally ate fried fish. In winter, when the river froze, the fish-deprived villagers fried potatoes instead. It’s said that this dish was discovered by American soldiers in Belgium during World War I and, since the dominant language of southern Belgium is French, they dubbed the tasty potatoes “French” fries.

The French Connection

However, there is a set of historians who claim that French fries are indeed French. First sold by street vendors on Paris’s Pont Neuf in the 1780s, the thin potato fritters were one of the most sold food items before the outbreak of French revolution. Potatoes were a means of sustenance for citizens who didn’t have the privileges enjoyed by the clergy or nobility. Potatoes were promoted as a common man’s food in France by Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, but he did not mention anything about french fries in particular.

Regardless of where they come from, French fries have solidified themselves as one of America's favorite dishes. Here are two mouth-watering recipes from the Idaho Potato Commission to celebrate this National French Fry Day. 

Idaho® Potato Pig Fries

Recipe courtesy Chef Eric Gallerstein, Mastiff Sausage Company. San Diego, CA

Yield: 12


6 lbs Idaho® Russet Potatoes, cut in ¼-inch slices
1 cup salt
6 T white vinegar
Oil for frying

Ingredients for Harissa Aioli

2 T coriander seed
2 T fennel seed
2 T cumin seed
2 T caraway seed
6 egg yolks
¾ cup chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
2 T honey
1 T lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 T salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cup canola oil


12 oz Cotija cheese
1 lb prepared carnitas, warmed
1 lb cooked sausage such as chorizo, warmed
1 lb cooked pork belly or bacon
¼ cup chopped cilantro


  1. Combine potatoes, salt and white vinegar in a saucepan; add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; simmer until potatoes are fork tender but do not fall apart. Drain. Spread in single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan and freeze overnight.
  2. To prepare the Harissa Aioli, grind spices in a high-speed blender, spice grinder or coffee grinder. Combine spices, egg yolks and next 9 ingredients (chilies through pepper) in blender or food processer. Gradually add oil while blending until mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Keep refrigerated.
  3. To prepare the Pig Fries, heat a fryer or 2-3 inches of oil to 350°F in a deep saucepan. Let potatoes thaw for about 15 minutes (8 ounces per serving). Fry to a deep golden brown. Drain.
  4. Shingle a portion of potatoes on a serving plate. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons Harissa Aioli. Top with about 1 ounce (1/4 cup) of each of the toppings, starting with the Cotija cheese and ending with the pork belly or bacon. Drizzle with about 2 more tablespoons Aioli. Garnish with 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Spicy Buttermilk French Fries

Recipe courtesy Deborah VanTrece, Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours
, Atlanta, GA

Yield: 8


6 large Idaho® Russet potatoes, cut into fries or wedges
2 cups buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt®
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and pepper, to taste
Ketchup or ranch dressing for serving


  1. Place cut potatoes in a shallow pan. Pour buttermilk over potatoes.
  2. In a large shallow pan, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, Lawry’s, kosher salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  3. Remove potatoes from buttermilk and dredge in seasoned flour. Shake off excess flour and transfer to a platter or sheet pan.
  4. Pour 3 inches of oil into a cast-iron skillet and heat to 350°F over medium-high heat. (Alternatively, you can use a tabletop fryer.)
  5. Using long tongs, carefully place potatoes in hot oil, being sure not to overcrowd pan, working in batches if necessary.
  6. Cook potatoes until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Use tongs to turn potatoes as needed to ensure potatoes are brown and crisp on all sides.
  7. Remove fried potatoes and transfer to a paper towel–lined platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve with ketchup or ranch dressing.


Tips For Frying PERFECT fresh-cut FRENCH FRIES

  1. Wash and scrub the skin-on potatoes well, and allow to air-dry in single layers on the sheet pans.
  2. Using a wall mount or sturdy french fry cutter, cut the potatoes into the desired strips, leaving skins on. These cut potatoes may then be placed in a large plastic bucket and rinsed with cold water until the excess starch and sugars are removed. Add water to the cut potatoes, and place container in walk-in refrigerator. Use within 24 hours.
  3. Remove cut potatoes from water, spin dry with a salad spinner, or allow to drain on a screen before placing the cut potatoes into the fryer.
  4. Blanch or partially cook the fries (to keep the potatoes from oxidizing and turning dark) in a 325-350º F fryer for 2-3 minutes. Remove potatoes from the fryer and drain. Allow fries to cool to room temperature before the final fry. Fries should be pliable and bendable. Then, chill in plastic tubs in the walk-in before the final fry.
  5. Finish fries off in the fryer at 350-375º F for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove and drain well.
  6. After removing from the oil and draining, season with salt. Do not season over hot oil.


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