Zesty Crispy Oven "Fries"

If there is one vegetable that is truly versatile, it is the simple potato.  The potato was first domesticated in 8000 B.C. in what is now modern-day Peru.  It was indigenous to the Americas region and is now found all over the globe.  In fact, the United Nations reported that nearly 324 million tons of potatoes were produced in 2010 alone.  Did you know there is actually a European Database where they, you guess it, do nothing but catalog potatoes.  I wonder what sorry sonofabitch got stuck being the European potato logger.  I mean, honestly, that's a job people.  Sheesh.....

There are over FOUR THOUSAND varieties of potatoes grown around the world.  The most commonly used potato in our country, however, is the Russet.

I love potatoes.  Whether it's classic mashed potatoes or Sicilian crocche (a potato croquette, mixed with egg, dipped in breadcrumbs and fried), I go crazy for them.  I honestly think there are probably an endless amount of potato recipes across the world.  I mean, just look at mashed potatoes for instance.  I don't think any two people make them the same.  Some people should quit though, because I have had some truly awful mashed potatoes in my lifetime.

French Fries, or as Philly's beloved Joey Vento referred to them.....Freedom Fries, have to be one of my biggest guilty pleasures.  I love a good french fry.  I go out of my way to frequent a particular establishment just because I prefer their french fries over another.

What I don't enjoy, however, is deep frying in my home.  I hate the vat of oil I have to deal with, I hate the smell that seems to embed in everything from my hair to my kitchen curtains, and I hate disposing of the used oil too.  It's just a hassle that I don't have time for.  But....we go back to my over the top love of french fries.  How can I eat french fries at home, that are perfectly seasoned, crispy, yet soft and won't stink up my damn house like a McDonald's?  How can I literally perfect the non-fried fry?  I began en epic quest likened to that of Frodo Baggins....ok, that's such a HUGE exaggeration, but I be I made my point!

Anyway, I went to work.  I tried all kinds of techniques, seasonings, oven temperatures and potato varieties.  After much trial and error...(I gotta be honest, there weren't really ERRORS, so to speak, because everything I cooked was fabulous.....but just not.......RIGHT), I finally have come up with the most perfect oven fry in the history of the universe.  And now, I am sharing it with you.......

Zesty Crispy Oven "Fries"

Prep:  10 minutes
Cook:  45 minutes
Total Time:  55 minutes
Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

1 TBSP E.V. Olive Oil (for pan)
6 Russet potatoes
2 TBSP E.V. Olive Oil
1 TBSP Salt
1/2 TBSP black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp season salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle 1 TBSP of olive oil on a standard baking sheet.  Using a pastry brush, brush the olive oil all over the bottom of the sheet and place into the oven until you are ready to add the potatoes.

Wash and slice Russet potatoes.  I like to cut mine in half long ways and then make long vertical slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Then I slice the half moon shaped slices in half to make thinner "fries".

Place sliced potatoes in a bowl.  Add 2 TBSP olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin.  

**SIDE NOTE**  
I am using dried ingredients, because I want a crispy potato.  I want to eliminate any excess moisture from onions, etc.

Toss with a wooden spoon until every single potato slice has been evenly coated.  Set aside.

Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and place on the stove.  Pour the potato slices onto the hot pan, trying to spread them out as evenly as possible for maximum crispyness.  The larger area of potato you have touching the baking sheet, the crispier your "fries" will be.

Sprinkle 1 tsp of season salt over the "fries" and place them into the oven for about 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and using a thin metal spatula, flip the "fries" over, again trying to spread them out as evenly as possible.

Place back into the hot oven and continue baking for another 20 minutes.

You should be left with the most delicious baked "fries" you have ever tasted.  Enjoy!!



Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef.  She beat out 43,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place.  Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world.  She now shares her recipes with all of you!  Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”. 

To contact Krissi for appearances, in-home demonstrations, catering and more, you can find her below:

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