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Fries (Baked!)

I basically have the palate of an 11-year-old. If I were left to my own devices I would probably eat pizza, tacos, french fries, ice cream and cookies for almost every meal. These things remain my favorites even though I have gained an appreciation for fancier stuff like oysters, truffles, curry, sushi etc.. I’m a little afraid of deep frying, which is probably a good thing, but it normally prevents me from making fries at home. I’ve been experimenting with oven fries for as long as I can remember but was never completely satisfied with the results. Until now.

I recently came across a technique that improved my efforts dramatically. Cook’s Illustrated is an under-rated source for recipes. Perhaps it is because the writing is so annoying. I find reading about the process of creating the recipes kind of tedious. “1 teaspoon of salt was too much, 1/4 teaspoon not enough- we decided on 1/2 teaspoon!“- ahhhH! Also, the recipes are sometimes dull. BUT, they almost always work and some of them will blow your mind. In fact, some of my all-time favorite recipes have their origin in the pages of Cook’s Illustrated.

This recipe produces amazingly crispy and garlicky fries that are ready to be dipped in some delicious sour cream mixed with chives, or homemade ketchup or chipotle mayo. Maybe even served alongside that salad that you created and dressed with some homemade vinaigrette. However they are served, they are fantastic.

Garlicky Oven Fries (adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated Recipe)

Preheat oven to 475° F. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl and microwave until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to a rimmed baking sheet, tilting the sheet to coat.

Add the potatoes to the bowl with the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.

Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve.