Cottage fries are a great variation for that ‘side o fries’ you want to make at home. Best made from russet potatoes, they come together in minutes and can be seasoned any way you’d like. I add Italian seasoning and cayenne to the oil, salt and pepper that is the basis for any plate of homemade french fries. But, you could use Herbs de Provence, Rosemary and Thyme, Cumin or Garam Masala… just about anything you like goes. Now you’ll have a terrific variation on just boiling, mashing or baking. And, because you bake them instead of deep frying, they’re better for you. Deep frying causes all sorts of problems that are easily avoided by baking foods, especially homemade fries instead.
You see deep frying requires an oil that stays stable at high temperature. High temperatures break oils down and oxidizes them which has been shown to produce carcinogens and have potential adverse affects on lungs, kidneys and heart. People say that oils mainly made up of healthier monosaturated fats like olive oil aren’t good for deep frying because they have relatively low ‘smoke points’ and aren’t stable at the temperatures associated with deep frying. So, you end up using oils with higher smoke points and higher concentrations of saturated fat like beef fat, butter, coconut or palm oil.
Also, the starches especially in potatoes, react with high heat and form other unhealthy byproducts linked to diseases like diabetes. Oil is easily absorbed by food or any typical breaded coatings associated with the process adding on average 120 calories per serving. It really does pay to bake instead of deep frying.
Finally, russet potatoes really are best for making any kind of baked variation on fries. Look, taste and texture are spot on. I resisted cooking with them for decades because they looked big and ungainly. With thick tough skin, they looked ‘right out of the dirt’. But eventually my research showed me a consensus, those old ugly russets were best for mashed and baked potatoes and even baked wedges and home fries. Once I started using russets, I started having better success so I recommend you try them if you aren’t already using them. I think you’ll be glad you did.
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