French Fries

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French Fries

4 or 5 large Russet baking potatoes, 10 to 12 ounces each, about 5 inches long and 2 to 2 1/2 inches across

2 1/2 quarts fresh frying oil

salt

Wash and peel the potatoes, trim into even rectangles and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8-inch wide and swish them in a basin of cold water to remove surface starch.

To prevent discoloration, drain them only just before frying; then dry thoroughly in paper towels.

(May be prepared to this point several hours in advance.)

The first fry: Provide yourself with a bed of paper towels set on a tray. Heat the oil to 325° F. Take up 2 handfuls of the potato strips (about the equivalent of 1 1/2 potatoes) and scatter them into the frying basket. Lower carefully into the hot fat, averting your face to avoid oil sputters. Fry, turning the potatoes frequently for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft through but not browned. Lift out the basket, let it drain briefly, then spread the potatoes on the paper towels and continue frying remainder. Let cool for 10 minutes or up to 2 to 3 hours.

Second and final frying: Just before serving, heat the frying oil to 375 to 400° F. Fry the cooked potatoes by handfuls, as describe above, turning frequently, only a minute or two, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, salt lightly, turn the potatoes into a serving basket and continue frying the remainder. Serve as soon as possible.

Makes 6 servings.

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