Nobody does french fries better than the Belgians, well of course the French, too, but Andreé was my favorite Belgian of all time. One of my fondest memories is of a Flemish table in old town Brussels laden with roast beef tenderloin that was circled in crispy fluffy pommes frites!

What makes pommes frites so different from American fries is that they're fried not once but twice, and served with a variety of sophisticated sauces, the most popular being mayonnaise-based. For me, I like them plain with just a little salt and pepper.
Serves: 4

4 large Russet (baking) potatoes; (about 2 pounds) Vegetable oil for frying
Kosher salt

Peel potatoes completely. This is important, because the skin impacts a heavier taste, not the typically light pommes fries flavor. Trim ends and sides of potatoes to form a rectangle. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks about 3 inches long, making sure all are as even as possible. Put potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water from 10 minutes to overnight, You want to soak the starch out so the potatoes don't burn on the outside or become too soft inside. Drain and dry thoroughly with kitchen towels.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in large heavy pot to 325 degrees (use a candy thermeter to be sure). Drop potatoes, about 1 cup at a time, into hot oil and fry for 5 to 6 minutes until tender and just starting to turn brown. Using a large slotted spoon or wire "spider" or scoop, remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Let cool. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry potatoes in batches as before for about 1 to 2 minutes until crisp and brown. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, if desired and serve immediately.

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Copyright 2005 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved