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Fried Potatoes - Patate Fritte

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Fried Potatoes, or Patate Fritte: The English call them chips, and the Americans French fries; they're a universal that one can find throughout the world, and are very common in Italy. To make fries for 4 you'll need:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds (500 g) potatoes
  • 1 pint (500 ml) oil for frying
  • A fryer with a wire-mesh basket
  • Absorbent paper
  • Salt

Preparation:

There are tools that will transform potatoes into sticks of uniform cross section, which should fry evenly, but I prefer hand-cut fries because they seem more flavorful. Though recipes generally call for sunflower, corn, or peanut oil, olive oil also works very nicely, imparting a pleasing flavor to the fries, and there are people who use animal fats too. Lard gives excellent results, and the "special" flavor of McDonald's fries used to come from beef tallow (an extract is now used to simulate it).

Having said this, peel your potatoes and cut them into 1/3 inch (1 cm) disks, then slice the disks into sticks. Put them in cold water for a few minutes, then drain them and pat them dry.

Heat your oil over a brisk flame, and when it's hot (a bread cube tossed in will return to the surface and begin to brown) put the potatoes in the basket and immerse them. Fry, keeping the flame brisk lest the oil cool, until the potatoes are golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Drain them well on absorbent paper, salt them, and they're done -- perfect with a bistecca alla fiorentina!

Note: if you are making lots of fries you should fry them in batches lest they cool the oil and absorb it.

Yield: 4 servings of fries.

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