Costco can be a dangerous place for the indulgent. I have a tendency to leave the mega-store with sucker purchases such as a massage chair (which I never use), an ice cream maker (which I love, but never use), and a heated blanket (which I use, but fear will give me cancer or burn my house down). Yesterday, I outdid myself. In addition to two dozen bottles of wine and beer that I am hiding in my secret chametz closet until after Passover, I also bought two xbox games, paper products to last a year, and best of all, a deep fryer.
Alex and I have been coveting a deep fryer ever since we read a New York Times article by Mark Bitman extolling the virtues of the cooking method. Not only is fried food delicious, he argued, but it can be deceptively healthful when the food is fried at the right temperature. In fact, properly deep fried food is a great diet food. At least that is what I believe.
We decided to break in the fryer with french fries, the dish that epitomizes the glory of frying. First, we cut russet potatoes into small rectangles and soaked them in ice water for half an hour to remove the excess starch. While we were waiting, we filled up the fryer with peanut oil, and quickly realized that the two bottles of oil we had just bought only filled about an inch of the frying basin. We sped to the grocery store to buy some more peanut oil, and then while we were out picked up our friend. An hour later, we were back on track and ready to fry.
After drying the potatoes, we fried them until they were golden brown, then let them rest for ten minutes, and then fried them for another minute. The results were adequate, although they were far from the Platonic fries I had envisioned. Possibly the oil wasn’t hot enough. Or maybe we fried too many potatoes at once. Another theory is that the fries sat in water for too long. Or maybe we didn’t dry them enough. Still the fries were quite delicious, and will definitely be a fun dish to master.