Not many menu items can stoke the fires of culinary debate like fries. It seems like everyone has a favorite that they are willing to fiercely defend when the subject turns to who makes the best fries.
As passionate as people are about fries, shouldn’t they get more “star treatment” on the menu? Often served as a free companion to a wide variety of burgers, sandwiches, and other entrees, the mighty fry is quite capable of standing on its own as a signature side or appetizer.
Read on for expert advice on transforming fries into a signature menu item made with fresh cut potatoes.
Start with the Right Potato
According to the Idaho Potato Commission’s Dr. Potato (disclaimer: not an actual doctor), you can fry any potato, but only a few varieties have the solids and starch content to fry to the ideal color and texture. Dr. Potato is partial to the Russet Burbank with Gold Dust, Ranger, the Umatilla, the Alturas, and the Classic as runners up. To minimize labor and waste while resulting in the most uniform-sized fries, Dr. Potato recommends #1 grade potatoes, with #2 grade running a close second.
Store at the Proper Temperature
A FIFO inventory system is best for fresh potatoes. Clear Cambro Food Storage Boxes help you keep an eye on how your potatoes are holding up, and StoreSafe Food Rotation Labels help ensure foods that were the first to be received are the first to be used.
To keep starch from turning into sugar and discoloring the potato, store potatoes in a cool, dry place with a temperature range of 45-55° F.
Wash, Cut, Rinse, and Store
The food prep experts at Sammic have designed a scalable system that enables you to schedule the process of efficiently preparing and storing freshly cut fries during downtime and only once a week.
Your fries will stay perfectly fresh for 8 or 9 days once peeled, cut, packed and refrigerated in one single process.
Click here to view the video of this efficient system that does everything from peeling and rinsing potatoes to slicing and vacuum sealing them.
If you choose to soak rather than vacuum seal your freshly cut potatoes, place clean, cut potatoes in a container of cold water. Make sure to fully submerge potatoes to prevent oxidation and discoloration. Dr. Potato recommends adding 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice per gallon of water. Store refrigerated until ready to blanch.
A clear Cambro food pan or storage container with a seal cover works well for this purpose, while using a food pan with a colander pan insert and a flat cover makes quick work of draining and rinsing pre-soaked potatoes.
Blanching is a secret to the perfect fresh-cut fry, so the extra step is worth it. If you’ve stored the potatoes in water, and the water is cloudy from excess starch, rinse them until the rinse water runs clear. This is where that colander pan comes in very handy. To prevent hot oil from splattering due to water droplets, drain, spin, or shake off excess water from potatoes before frying.
Fill fryer baskets halfway with raw, fresh-cut potatoes. Fry very briefly at 350° until the cut potatoes looked glazed and limp, but still light in color. Timing of this step will vary depending upon the type of potato used and the cut of the fry.
Cool to room temperature (about 15 minutes) and then refrigerate for food safety until ready to fry and serve, up to about 24 hours.
Fry in half-full baskets at 350° F for 2 to 4 minutes. Frymaster’s Filter Quick with EasyTouch electric fryers help achieve a consistently high quality fry with pre-programmed recipes. They also reduce operating costs by using 40% less oil with a user-friendly system that encourages more frequent filtering, which makes oil last longer and ensures consistent, great-tasting fries and other fried foods. It even lets staff know when it’s time to shake the basket to redistribute the fries for even cooking and browning.
Once golden brown, remove from the fryer and dump onto a flat surface area or food pan away from the fryer. Shake on salt or your signature seasoning or add custom toppings.
Cambro Camview Shakers hold up to ten ounces of salt or seasoning, minimizing refills and maintenance. Clear shakers and color-coded lids provide at-a-glance content identification.
For tips on improving prep efficiency while supporting special customer requests, see Order Customization Made Easy.
When you can’t serve fries right away, holding stations designed specifically for fries are a necessity to maintain ideal color and texture. Place a Hatco Glo-Ray Fry Holding Station next to your fryer to safely hold fries at the proper serving temperature without cooking them any further while providing air flow to maintain crispy texture.
The perfect vessel serves multiple purposes by elevating presentation while preserving perfect texture that just may earn you best-fry bragging rights!
Open baskets help fries stay crispy, and metal cups such as the stylish Tablecraft Lattice Collection Fry Cup ward off condensation for a top-quality fry that will keep your customers coming back for more.
The bold, steep-rimmed Playground Nara stoneware plate by BauscherHepp provides a dramatic backdrop for your signature fry creation.
Ready to treat your customers to signature fries that taste like real potatoes, have no additives, are consistent in size, and help set you apart from your competition?