Recipe for traditional Belgian potato fries (NL: friet, FR: (pommes) frites) as prepared at the FOC (Fri3s Operating Center) at #cccamp19.
Belgian fries require your patience and love. We use the two-bath technique for the best results. We first precook the potatoes at a low temperature for a soft inside, let the fries rest for a bit, and then cook them a second time for a crunchy outside. As a result, all flavor palettes from mashed potatoes to potato crisps are present in each fry.
- Big potatoes. Recommended varieties are Artemis or Bintje
- Vegetable oil
- Mayon(n)aise (the acidy version with an egg or citrus basis, definitely not a sweet fritesauce)
- Cutting board and knife or a fries cutter
- Temperature controlled fryer
- Paper towel
Rinse and cut the potatoes into fries.
- Rinse and clean the potatoes
- Optionally, peel the potatoes
- Cut long fries, 1cm by 1cm thick. If you don't have a fries cutter, cut the fries in 1cm thick plaques and then into fries
- Optionally, fries can be washed and dried thoroughly to remove starch and avoid sticky fries, but this step is disputed among chefs
Blanching in the first bath
Precooking slowly cooks the inside of the fries into a mash.
- Preheat the vegetable oil and keep it at 150 degrees Celsius
- Add a portion of fries to the vegetable oil. Use small batches, the fries need to freely swim in the vegetable oil
- Precook the fries for 7 to 8 minutes. The fries will sing as water evaporates from the potatoes. As the potatoes precook, the singing will sowly die out. Pre-cook the fries until they start developing a light golden color
- When the fries are precooked, take them out of the oil, shake the basket to remove oil from the fries and put them in a colander lined with paper towel
Resting allows the fries to further develop the mash palette and getting them cooled before frying in high heat will help creating a crust.
- Toss the fries in the colander. The fries lose excessive fat as they jump
- Let the fries rest in the colander between baths, at least 15 minutes
- You can precook the fries hours before final cooking and serving. Toss the fries from time to time so they don't stick and cluster together during resting
Cooking in the second bath
The second cooking at a high heat allows the fries to develop a crust.
- Preheat the vegetable oil and keep it at 180 or higher degrees Celsius
- Add small batches of fries to the oil and shortly cook them for a nice crust
- The second bath takes much shorter than the first bath, so you can push out big amounts of fries at once
- When the fries are developing a darker brown color, transfer them to a colander lined with paper towel
Finish the fries with salt and mayo.
- Sprinkle salt generously (or to taste) on the fries
- Toss the fries to get rid of excessive fat
- Serve the fries with mayon(n)aise to dip
About Belgian fries
We do not agree that French fries is a historically correct name. Although the origin of fries is disputed, Belgians will defend that fries originated in Belgium, as they first appeared in the 17th century in the Meuse valley.
Traditional dishes in Belgium that are served with fries are steak-friet, stoofvlees-friet, baked sole or mussels, usually accompanied with a simple lettuce-tomato salad.
In Belgium, fries are sold with dozens of different sauces, serving all tastes from mayos and ketchups to curry or hot sauces or local shop special sauces.
As a quick snack, slide a fried egg on top of the fries and use the egg yolk as a wonderful sauce.