I’m all for easy weeknight meals and most nights when I get home from work, I’m pretty organized in the meal department. Every week, I plan out a menu and keep it on the side of the fridge so that in the mornings, I’ll know what I need defrost and in the evenings, I’ve got a game plan for the meal at hand. I’ve shared plenty of my weeknight meals with you here but it isn’t often that I share a side dish and that may be why I’m so excited to share these baked oven fries with you.
Simply cut the potatoes into wedges and after a short soak in some hot water, the wedges head into the oven on a baking sheet that you’ll have coated with vegetable/canola/peanut oil. And believe it or not, it isn’t the olive oil that makes these fries so flipping amazing – it’s the soak! The water pulls out some of the starch from the potatoes which allows them to bake up perfectly tender. The oil on the baking sheet is what you’ll need to crisp up the outsides of the potatoes so don’t think you can skip this step to cut back on calories – the editors of Cook’s Illustrated always think of everything. I’ve made these fries a few times and I feel like you can allow the potatoes to soak for between 10 and 20 minutes – 10 is the recommended time by CI and over 20 minutes results in a hollow oven fry…and nobody likes a hollow fry!
To further ease up my weeknight, I’ve been pairing these fries with bbq chicken burgers. I make double-batches of burgers, shape the burgers, and freeze them in 2-pack portions so they are ready to pull from the freezer when we’re craving them. I’ve also always got a batch of bbq sauce (included with the burger recipe) in the fridge to slather on the burgers…and perhaps to dip the oven fries in as well. We adore these baked oven fries and we’re moving further and further away from buying frozen, store-bought fries and tator tots. I think the natural next step is to grow our own potatoes – and you may see that happening in the next couple of years!
- 3 russet potatoes (about 24 oz. total), peeled and cut lengthwise into even sized wedges
- 5 tbsp vegetable, canola or peanut oil, divided
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 475˚ F and move an oven rack to the second-lowest position. Place the potato wedges in a large mixing bowl. Cover with hot water; soak for 10-20 minutes. Put 4 tablespoons of the oil onto a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. Tilt the sheet side to side to evenly coat the pan with oil (a pastry brush can also help with this). Sprinkle the pan evenly with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Drain the potatoes. Spread the wedges out on layers of paper towels or on clean kitchen towels. Pat dry with additional towels. Wipe out the now empty bowl so it is dry. Return the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the potato wedges on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula and tongs, flip each potato wedge keeping them in a single layer. Continue baking until the fries are golden and crisp, 5 -15 minutes. Rotate the pan as needed to ensure even browning.
- When the fries are finished baking, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the grease. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.