Greg’s birthday always features two stars: steak and potatoes. After celebrating 16 of his birthdays — clearly we met in kindergarten — coming up with new ways to make steak and potato dishes can be a challenge. (Sometimes we visit a steakhouse, but this year he wanted to try out his new grill.) I’d never made him true fries so this year’s meal was more about the potatoes than the steak. I bought a New York Strip steak for him and a filet for me and picked up some goodies from a local butcher for a charcuterie plate. Our first course was hearts of Romain with blue cheese. For the steak, I used a slightly modified version of this marinade, but a nice peppercorn crust or balsamic reduction would work nicely too. Dessert? Who has room after a meal like this? We skipped it in favor of a digestif.
When making the fries be sure to keep the oil from getting too hot. You’ll be cooking them twice, first at a lower temperature then at higher heat. If you’re worried they’ll cook too fast test a few at a time.
- 2 pounds Russet potatoes
- about 4 cups vegetable oil
Pour enough oil into a deep fryer to reach at least halfway up the sides of a cast-iron frying pan or Dutch oven but not more than three-quarters of the way up. Heat the oil to 200 degrees Farenheit.
Cut the potatoes into sticks 1/4 inch wide and about three inches long. Soak in cold water for two hours. Dry all the pieces thoroughly in a clean dish towel.
Fry the potatoes at 200 degrees for about 6-8 minutes per batch. Don’t crowd the pan. They should be light but not browned. Remove the potatoes and let stand several hours at room temperature until you are almost ready to serve them.
Heat the oil to 325°F. Fry the potatoes in batches until they are nicely browned and crisp, one to two minutes. Drain on fresh paper towels or brown paper bags and place in a warmed serving bowl lined with more paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve. Don’t cover the potatoes or they will get mushy.