This week, while shopping at our local grocery store, we discovered some Angus burgers! Pre-prepared and individually packaged, these were the epitomy of convenience! They were slightly more expensive than the hamburgers we often buy when we're in a rush or not in the mood of cooking but we said "what the heck!"....not only because we've been lazy these days (and the heat has pretty much put us on a hiatus from using the stove) but because Angus just hasn't been in our price-range before now! Plus we deserved a treat! We topped with melted Monterey jack cheese, fresh tomatoes, homemade guacamole, garlic mayo, and pickled hot banana-pepper rings! In one word - Orgasmic!
Now to find a side....While flipping through The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated I came across a recipe for oven fries. Now, I've made these before with absolutely no success - not only did they stick to the baking sheet like glue but they never totally cooked inside (or unevenly at best) and the outside never got crispy. I was a little weary of trying again for the umpteenth time BUT my husband really wanted fries so I said I'd try again but with no promises...
Well...this recipe was a total success! Not only did the potatoes NOT stick to the baking sheet but the outsides were crisp and the insides were soft and fluffy like a baked potato and no dryness at all! The secret, according to Cook's Illustrated, is to soak the wedges in hot tap water for 10 minutes before tossing with oil. Another tip I learned is to generously coat the baking sheet with oil which prevents the potatoes from sticking. Whatever the secret, it worked and the hubby was happy! The only drawback with the recipe is that it is a little more labor-intensive but the end result is well worth the effort!
The only change I made is I substituted olive oil for the vegetable oil. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time, I might also add some dried rosemary and some Parmesan cheese....
The New Best Recipe
Take care to cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges so that all of the pieces will cook at about the same rate. Although it isn't required, a nonstick baking sheet works particularly well for this recipe. It not only keeps the fries from sticking to the pan but, because of its dark color, encourages deep and even browning. Whether you choose a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet, make sure that it is heavy duty. The intense heat of the oven may cause lighter pans to warp.
Serves 3 to 4
3 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 even wedges
5 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
Salt and ground pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat an 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (see note) with 4 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
2. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple thickness of paper towels and pat thoroughly dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return the potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.
3. Transfer fries to a second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.