Fries - - Archived

Who can resist a hot and crispy plate of French fries right out of the fryer or oven? More than just the fast food variety (delicious as they are), we take a look this month at a few takes on the perfect potato provisions—ready to be prepared in the comfort of your own kitchen. – Brandon Daiker


11-16-food_fries_web1This is a Montreal classic, and it’s easy to see why, if you think about the winter weather there. A portion of fries with gravy and cheese is just what you need when an icy wind blows in off the St. Lawrence river. If you can’t find curd cheese, halloumi will give a similar squeaky texture and mild taste, otherwise try string cheese or even cubes of Monterey Jack.

Serves 4


  • Classic Fries (see last recipe)
  • 10½ oz. curd cheese, or thinly sliced halloumi

For the gravy:

  • 1 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock, hot
  • 2 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy, put the shallot and butter in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until just soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring continuously, until the gravy comes to a boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until thick, about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside while you make the Classic Fries.

Reheat the gravy. To serve, divide the fries between four bowls and then add the cheese. Pour over the hot gravy and serve immediately.

Garlic & Herb Potato Wedges with Garlic Lemon Mayo

11-16-food_fries_web2The smell of roasting garlic and rosemary infuses these potato wedges with sunny Mediterranean flavours. To keep the good feelings going, serve with a garlic lemon mayo dip and it will seem like summer, no matter what the weather. Serves 4-6


  • 1¾ pounds floury potatoes, preferably Cyprus, scrubbed
  • 4–5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garlic lemon mayo:

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1⁄2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to mix. Set aside.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then into thirds so you end up with six long wedges. Put the wedges in a large mixing bowl and add the oil, salt, garlic, herbs, and a generous grinding of pepper. Toss well with your hands to coat evenly, then transfer to the prepared sheets and spread evenly in a single layer.

Roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn the potatoes and continue roasting for another 10–15 minutes, until deep golden and cooked through. Sprinkle with salt and more pepper and serve with the garlic lemon mayo.

Homemade Ketchups


  • 2 pounds 3 ounces ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vinegar (malt or cider)
  • ½ cup soft dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of celery salt

11-16-food_fries_web3Put the tomatoes in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they break down, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth, then rub through a fine-mesh sieve and return the paste to a clean pan. Continue cooking the tomato pulp over a low heat, stirring often, until very thick. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more vinegar and/or sugar according to taste. The sauce will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least 1 week.


  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 pound 2 ounces strained tomatoes or passata
  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup malt vinegar
  • salt

In a saucepan, soften the onion in the oil, 3–5 minutes. Stir in all the spices and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute more. Add the passata/strained tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and salt to taste. Stir to dissolve and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until thick like ketchup. Taste and adjust seasoning. The sauce will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least 1 week.


  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1½ pounds strained tomatoes or passata
  • ¼ teaspoon chili/hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
  • splash of cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan, soften the onion in the oil, 3–5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, passata/strained tomatoes, chili/hot red pepper flakes, and ketchup, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until thick. Add some salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar; taste and adjust seasoning. It will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least 1 week.

Classic Fries

11-16-food_fries_web5The simplicity of hot, crispy potatoes requires nothing more than some sea salt flakes as seasoning. If you do want a bit of a flourish, malt vinegar, mayonnaise or ketchup will do the trick. Eating does not get much better.

Serves 4

  • 3–4 large floury potatoes, all roughly the same size
  • vegetable or sunflower oil
  • sea salt flakes

Peel the potatoes and trim on all sides to get a block. Cut the block into slices about 1 centimeter thick, then cut the slices again to get fries. Put the potatoes into a bowl of iced water for at least 5 minutes, to remove excess starch and prevent sticking when frying.

Fill a large saucepan one-third full with oil or, if using a deep-fat fryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Heat the oil to 375°F, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.

Drain the potatoes and dry very well. Working in batches, fry about a handful of potatoes at a time. Place the potatoes in a frying basket (or use a slotted metal spoon) and lower into the hot oil carefully. Fry for 4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried and drained.

Just before serving, skim any debris off the top of the cooking oil and reheat to the same temperature.

Fry as before, working in batches, but only cook until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the potatoes have been fried again.

Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve.


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