One way to consume potato fries without the guilt is to bake them. If you don't have an air fryer, you can use your oven or oven toaster to make these fries, and sprinkle salt, pepper flakes, paprika and herbs like rosemary or microgreens, to give them a lovely slightly smoky-spicy flavour.
The way fries cross boundaries and challenge categories is one of the reasons why I enjoy making this whenever I want to have a snack or a side dish to accompany a meat course. It can be casual, soaked in a paper bag; or fancy, slathered in truffle oil. It's a common cause scientists, agriculturists, food writers, professional chefs and home cooks obsess about. Never mind potato variety, as we don't have enough variety in the Philippines, but temperature, fat, and equipment are contributing factors to a fry's perfect crisp-tender ratio.
You can also use squash, zucchini or sweet potato for this recipe, but these may not have the same kind of bite and texture as potatoes. Make sure to slice them thinly using a knife, or a mandolin -- if you're confident about using the latter, and want to get consistent sticks or strips.
Another thought: if these fries are baked, would I still call them fries? Well, fries sound better than baked sticks, so let's stick with baked fries. :-)
Baking time: 35 minutes
2 large potatoes -- keep the skin on
4 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
1/4 cup rosemary, remove them from the sprigs
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or fine salt flakes
Microgreens or rosemary
1. Wash potatoes, cut in half and lengthwise in strips. Fill a medium bowl with tap water, about 3/4th capacity, and soak the potatoes for at least 30 minutes to 8 hours, wrapped in cling film and chilled in the refrigerator. Soaking the potatoes will remove the starchiness and result to crispier fries.
2. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Pat potato sticks dry using a paper towel. Line them on a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil or parchment paper -- this allows the heat to distribute evenly so the fries won't stick. Drizzle potatoes in olive oil or sunflower oil. Season potatoes with salt, pepper flakes, paprika and herbs.
3. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes. Turn up temperature to 210 degrees Celsius, and bake for another 15 minutes until crisp. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.